Coweta BOE approves new millage rate, taxes increase

Thu, 08/02/2007 - 3:25pm
By: The Citizen

The Coweta County Board of Education voted to approve a 2007 millage rate of 18.59 mills for maintenance and operation of the school system’s 2007-08 school year, at a called meeting on July 26.

The vote followed three public hearings that the Board held before setting this year’s millage rate. The board’s action held property tax rates at the same level since it was set at 18.54 mills 2004. The board also voted to maintain the ad valorem rate for bond payments at 0.00 mills.

Leaving the property tax at the same millage rate is expected to increase revenues to the Coweta County School System by 0.29 percent over the rollback millage rate, which necessitated the public hearings.

The property tax revenue generated by 18.59 mills of ad valorem tax will fund the local share of the school system’s total operating budget for Coweta County’s 29 schools and other facilities.

The Board of Education approved a maintenance and operation budget for the school system of $166.5 million for the 2007-08 school year in June, for a fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2007.  The general fund budget is the operating budget for the school system, and is funded by a combination of state revenue and local taxes. The fund includes instructional funds, school system personnel, pupil services, school maintenance and operation, transportation and other day-to-day costs of operating the school systems.

The school system’s budget also projects the use of up to $3.5 million in reserves to balance the budget.  A similar amount of reserve spending was budgeted for the 2006-07 school year, though the school system actually ended the 2006-07 school year far enough under budget that no reserves were spent.

The general fund budget of $166,525,599 adopted by the school board for 2007-08 was an increase of $12.2 million over last year’s general fund budget of $154,276,878.

Outside of the $166 million operations budget, other school system budgets include the special revenue fund (which accounts for state and federal funding sent to special federal programs such as Title I and federal lunch programs), the capital projects fund (for construction) and the debt service fund.  School construction and debt service are funded principally by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds and some state funding.

Those budgets, combined with the operations budget, total $248 million.

School system comptroller Keith Chapman reported that most of this year’s increase in the school system’s operations budget is driven by personnel costs (including new teachers to keep up with student growth), step raises and a 3 percent cost-of-living raise to all employees.

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