In a called meeting lasting a matter of minutes the school board approved the millage rate for this year and a fiscal year 2020 budget Friday at the central office.
With board chair Tucker Green participating by speaker phone, the board approved a rolled back millage rate of 15.1 mils, down from last year’s 15.33.
Superintendent Carlton Wilson commented that this marked the fourth year in a row they had rolled back the tax rate and he was excited about it.
The board is projecting to collect $21,713,882 in property taxes to fund the next budget. This is up 1.92 percent ($409,416) over the amount collected this year. The rising tax digest (value of property in the county) allows all the local governments to lower their millage rates and collect either the same amount or slightly more than previous years.
The millage rate has dropped steadily since 2015 when it was at 16.1 mils as the digest (value of taxable property here) has increased during that same time from $1,337,126,369 in 2015 to $1,430,426,977.
• Budget of $54,548,045 approved
In the same brief meeting, the board approved a budget for FY2020 with expenditures of $54,548,045 in their general fund. This is up slightly over the projected revenues of $48,936,492. The budget shows a starting fund balance of $15,600,000 and an ending fund balance of $9,988,447.
Superintendent Wilson said in after-meeting comments that their healthy fund balance allowed them to make some cuts in collections.
“We budgeted so our fund balance at the end would be where we wanted it to be, so we took the opportunity to reduce collections,” he said.
Wilson said they consider this budget to be very conservative but noted they are still providing programs like art/music/PE at the elementary level and career counselling at the high school that not all systems can afford.
“When the state gave raises last year, it costs the local system as well, but we were still able to do a few things and lower the millage rate,” he said.