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School District proposed budget increase, but millage rate decrease

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Kendra Sittig, Director of Budget for the school district, and Joyce McIntyre, Director of Finance and Purchasing, shared the proposed tentative millage rates with the members of the school board on 07/24/18. Two public hearings are required, and the second public hearing is scheduled for 09/11/18. The School Board will decide then whether or not to accept the final proposed budget, setting the millage. 

McIntyre explained that in order to obtain the available $92,919,554.00 in funding from the State of Florida this year, the Department of Education set the Required Local Effort (RLE), or the amount the County must raise. This amount is generated through millage, a rate based on the value of property, and is added to the County’s property tax assessment and cannot be adjusted by the School Board. 

This year’s rate of 4.092 is added to the already established 0.748 Discretionary mill, and the Capital Outlay mill of 1.500 for a total of 6.340 mills. McIntyre stated this was .43% more than the 6.3128 roll back rate (tax rate required to match last year’s budget). The RLE is .279 less than the state required last year.

It looks like a tax increase, McIntyre stated, because the estimated tax roll is expected to be greater and should generate approximately $1.2 million more than in 2017. Therefore, the school tax rate will show as a decrease from last year’s millage rate of 6.619. 

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Turning to the budget, McIntyre explained that the total tentative budget is $279,395,765.00, and includes $14,710,646.00 in transferred funds. 
The funding sources come from four areas: Federal funding, the State of Florida, County taxes, and local revenue (which McIntyre said was from miscellaneous charges such as fees for use of facilities or transcripts).  The Federal government also supplies grant money for specialized programs such as Title I, IDEA, Adult Education, and Food Service. 

This year, the Federal funding will be $2,053,700, an increase of $839,700. McIntyre stated the State of Florida is increasing the “per student” rate by $0.47 over last year, from $4,203.95 to $4,204.42. This is an increase of $2,984,347 in State funding. 

Local funding is up by $339,080 and property taxes are expected to bring in $393,108 more than last year. Capital Funds transfers in remain the same as last year: $5,100,000. The projected unassigned beginning balance reflects an increase of 10.08%, McIntyre said, or $16,989,194.

The expenditures show how this money is spent: salaries/benefits, services, materials/supplies, etc. Instruction and direct services to students accounts for 87% of the budget, 4% is for support, and 9% is for transfers and fund balances.

 Another aspect of the budget is Debt Service, the school district’s repayment of bonds and other long-term obligations. Apart from the $9.6 million in transferred funds, debt service revenue totals $501,862. Payment of the debt, including principal, interest and fees totals $10,112,508.

McIntyre discussed the Capital Outlay budget. Revenues are expected to be $26,968,679, an increase of 268,073 from last year. Capital Outlay appropriations include renovation and repair, maintenance, and constructing facilities. School Board Chairman Mark Johnson wanted the public to be aware that the revenue from impact fee could only be used for new construction, or growth projects.

Federal grants for the special programs is expected to be $12,257,589, but Sittig stated that when the figures are certified, the district could receive as much as $3 million more. Food Service falls under a special category as it pays for itself through federal reimbursement per student and through cafeteria sales to both students and adults. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is being expanded for the next four years to include all students in the County, not just those who meet income requirements. The figures for this funding source will be adjusted as the information is received.

The total budget for all areas is $279,395,765.00, including money transferred into the different budget areas. With the variables listed above, there will be changes before the final public hearing.   

The School Board voted 5-0 to approve the tentative millage rate of 6.340 for fiscal year 2018-2019. They also voted 5-0 to approve the tentative budget for the school district.

The second public budget hearing is scheduled for 09/11/18 at 5:01 pm in the School Board meeting room. 

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