During the board meeting held in August of 2007, the Bryan County Board of Education accepted the recommendation of Superintendent Sallie Brewer and set the millage rate for FY08 at 13.572 mills.
The approved millage rate is slightly lower than the previous year’s rate which was established at 13.614 mills. The school millage rate has not increased in seven consecutive years.
In spite of the tough economic crisis the state has endured over the last several years and considering the Bryan County School System has endured in excess of $4.8 million of austerity cuts, the fact that the millage rate has either remained constant or declined over the last seven years is quite a feat.
Pursuant to state legislation, the current 2007 tax digest along with the five year history levy of millage rates was advertised in the local media prior to the Bryan County Board of Education adopting the millage rate.
Because the Board of Education elected to accept the roll back millage rate, which is the previous year’s millage rate minus the millage equivalent of the total net assessed value added by reassessments of existing real property, there was no additional requirement to hold public hearings.
During FY 2007, ad valorem tax revenues generated about $14.7 million or 36 percent of total revenues. The FY 2008 budget is again predicated upon taxes being levied to generate approximate $15.2 million of general fund revenue.
Tax revenues are used to fund a myriad of local initiatives and unfunded state mandates.
Some of these include funds for 68 classroom teaching positions in a concerted effort to reduce class size and to plan for student growth. In addition, tax revenues will fund an increase in local supplements for the certified staff, a 3 percent cost of living increase for all Bryan County Schools’ employees, and funds to employ ninety instructional paraprofessionals.
Also, tax revenues will be used to support the maintenance and operations of our facilities, to provide $1.9 million of funds to operate the bus fleet, and to set aside $2.75 million for capital projects.
The strong tax base in Bryan County provides the tools needed to accomplish the mission of the Bryan County School System which is to provide all children an opportunity for academic, physical, social, and emotional growth and development to the full extent of their abilities, and thereby to foster each student’s self-worth by providing meaningful learning experiences in a supportive, safe, and healthy educational environment.
By Melanie James
Bryan County BoE director of finance