School Board Seeks 17 cent Property Tax Increase to help Fund New Budget

May 13, 2011
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The DeKalb County Board of Education is seeking a seventeen cent increase in the local property tax rate to help fund the new school budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year which begins July 1st.

The school board adopted the proposed tentative general purpose and food service budgets during the monthly meeting Thursday night which was held at the DCHS cafeteria. All six board members present voted in favor. Sixth district member Bruce Parsley was absent.

The general purpose budget totals $20-million 146-thousand 303 consisting of local monies but mostly state funding. In order the make the proposed budget balance a total of $666,893 is needed from the Education Jobs Fund, which is federal one time monies; an appropriation of $658,016 from the school system's allocation of Basic Education Program (BEP) reserves for equipment and capital outlay expenditures; and a seventeen cent increase in the local property tax rate. If approved, the local tax rate for schools would increase from the current level of 48 cents to 65 cents per $100 of assessed value. One cent of the tax rate is estimated to generate $44,323.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby outlined during the meeting and then further discussed with WJLE afterwards the need for some of the extras in the proposed new budget including the following: (Click the following link to hear Willoughby's comments made to WJLE)

A 3.2% pay raise for certified and support staff

Five new teacher positions (total funds needed $225,000):
One Northside Elementary School 5th grade teacher
One Northside Elementary School physical education teacher
One DCHS math teacher
One county wide instruction coach teacher
One band assistant teacher

Two new assistant soccer coach positions (total funds needed $5,570)

One new support staff position-DCHS site coordinator (total funds needed $33,580)

One new teacher position-DCHS special education teacher (total funds needed $45,000)

Three teacher positions which have been funded from federal stimulus (ARRA) money to be returned to the local general purpose fund now that the ARRA funds have been exhausted. (Total funds needed $135,000

One educational assistant position which has been funded from ARRA money to be returned to the local general purpose budget (Total funds needed $15,000)

Three new assistant principal positions with benefits (Total funds needed $229,100)
One at DeKalb West
One at Northside Elementary
One at Smithville Elementary

The proposed new budget also includes the following increases:

Textbook adoption (Math)- $40,000
Updated hardware/software Accounting Department- $40,000
Minimal increase in utility costs- $6,000
Increase in maintenance of plant supplies- $23,000
Increase in fuel costs: $124,000
Increase in capital outlay- $200,000 (mostly for DCHS science lab upgrades)

The spending plan will be presented to the budget committee of the county commission and if it meets with approval there, then it will go before the entire county commission in August for final approval. If the committee does not approve, then the proposed new school budget could be subject to some revisions by the board of education.

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