Kim Nichols, Catoosa County director of school improvement, said that after evaluating the situation, board members chose to stay the course and not increase the property tax — or millage — rate.
"Based on the fact that we're starting the year with a pretty healthy reserve (nearly $11 million) we just didn't see the need to raise the millage rate at this point," Nichols said. "We're just going to be really frugal and make our pennies stretch like we've always done."
Public education in Georgia is funded from three primary sources: local taxation, state government financing, and funds coming from the federal government. When the total digest of taxable property is prepared, Georgia law requires that a rollback millage (tax) rate must be computed that will produce the same total revenue on the current year's new digest that last year's rate would have produced had no reassessments occurred.
Although faced with a budget teetering on the $90 million mark, Catoosa County school superintendent Denia Reese said she was very positive about the new year and the financial situation.
"I just want to make it clear that staying in the budget is a group effort," Reese said. "Everyone pulls their weight. Administrators, teachers, other employees all across the board. I'm very proud of how we work together to spend wisely and be frugal and even buy locally. It takes all of those things and I'm so impressed and grateful that we have employees who are willing to do that consistently."