Despite a well-documented school funding shortage, Madison County Schools Superintendent Mitch McGhee will recommend millage rates stay the same for the 2010 budget year.
The Madison County Board of Education will vote on McGhee’s recommendation Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Professional Learning Center.
According to assistant superintendent Bonnie Knight, McGhee will propose the maintenance and operation rate stay at 16.99 mills and the rate to payoff a nearly 20-year-old Danielsville Elementary School bond remain at .826.
The county tax digest dropped about two percent this year, and the system incurred a number of state funding cuts, but school leaders were intent on keeping the 16.99 maintenance and operation rate for the fourth consecutive year.
“We anticipated doing that during the budget process,” Knight said.
The 16.99 rate will generate $11.41 million in local tax revenue, down from $11.53 million last year.
Because of all the state cuts that came after the budgeting process, the school system will collect less revenue than the school board approved as part of the budget back in June.
“And we’re watching that,” Knight said. “We’ve talked about different things that we may have to do as we get closer to the end of the year if things continue to decline.”
Meanwhile, the school system will again levy .826 of a mill to make its annual payment on Danielsville Elementary School. Voters approved a 20-year bond to build the school back in 1992. The payment is over $500,000 a year.
School leaders saved taxpayers that expense in 2007 and 2008 by using funds leftover from the 2003 SPLOST to service the bond debt both times. Collectively, that saved property owners over $1 million in taxes. The system, however, had to return to levying that tax during the 2009 budget year when the 2003 SPLOST funds were exhausted.
With a little over $1.1 million left on the Danielsville bond, the school system is scheduled to finish payments in 2012.