The Troup County Board of Education on Thursday is expected to vote on its millage rate for the 2013 fiscal year.
The millage is proposed to stay at 18.85 mills, which has remain unchanged since 2005. Because property tax assessments have increased and the tax digest is expected to bring more money into the school system, the board is required to hold public hearings on the rate because it will represent an increase of 1.42 percent, about $498,441, in collections said Chief Financial Officer Byron Jones.
The board held its third and final meeting Monday. Superintendent Cole Pugh said that even though the millage rate remaining unchanged means an increase in collections this year, the board in the past two years has left the millage rate unchanged when the tax digest decreased. The board had the option to raise its millage to keep the same tax collection rate without holding a hearing, but didn’t despite projected budgetary shortfalls, Pugh said.
“Two out of three years the board has given up tax payer revenue and given tax payers a break,” Pugh said.
He said there have been many people who protested the closing of Cannon Street and West Side Magnet schools, and who rallied to save art and music instruction from budget cuts. He said the board will continue to be met with tough choices as its revenue from state sources continues to decline.
Four people spoke at the hearing. Three said they were in favor of keeping the rate at 18.85.
School board candidate Tommy Callaway spoke against the rate, saying that even though property tax assessments have risen, that doesn’t represent an improving economy. He said elderly people need a tax break and though Gilmore County recently approved a break for seniors then increased millage to make up the difference, the increased millage was still more than one mill lower than Troup’s.
“I think if you give (all residents over 65) a tax break, then surely you can make (the difference) up,” Callaway said.
Other matters the board is expected to vote on Thursday include:
•A $101,143 license agreement with Thinkgate software, a data assessment program used in 19 schools. Karen Cagle, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said the software has been instrumental in targeted learning, which has helped increase CRCT scores.
•Approve participating in the state’s Pre-K grant for funding of the Pre-K program.
•Renew an annual contract with West Georgia RESA for occupational therapy for students for $181,006.01.
•Renew an annual contract with Diane Mitchell and Sarah Christman for interpreting servcies at a total $123,000.
•Purchasing new computers for the career-technical-agriculture education lab at a cost of $96,001.20.
•Renew a contract with Energy Education Inc. for energy reduction at a cost of $201,600. John Radcliffe, assistant superintendent for maintenance and operations, said the program has been very successful and saved more than the cost of the program each year.
•A maintenance contract with Loy’s Office Supply for replacement supplies and copy machine repairs.
•Renewal of the E-2020 program, an online credit recovery tool for students, at a cost of $83,112.80.