No increase to taxpayers with Coweta school budget

Coweta County taxpayers will not have to shell out more money this year for the maintenance and operations of the county’s schools. The Coweta County Board of Education on Tuesday voted to hold the millage rate steady at 18.59 mills again this year.

School system spokesman Dean Jackson after the meeting said the rate set at 18.59 mills for the 2012-2013 school year reflects the same rate seen since 2004. As is customary, the combination of local property taxes and state dollars will be used to fund the school system’s $168.5 million budget adopted in June.

The FY 2013 budget comes with no reductions in K-12 academic offerings, Jackson said, adding that the school board for FY 2013 did use a portion of the June 30 fund balance to cover this year’s expected shortfall in state funding.

“Approximately $10.4 million in operational reserves are being budgeted to cover those revenue shortfalls in FY 2013. However, provided that the school system is able to continue creating budget savings during FY 2013, as it did in FY 2012 and in several previous fiscal years, actual reserves used could be as low as $7.5 million,” Jackson said. “The system currently has a fund balance of $21.1 million, on the accrual basis, or approximately 13 percent of total operations.”

Contained in the budget for the 2012-2013 are items such as no additional cuts to educational programs or services, no reduction in the 180-day instructional calendar, no salary reductions for employees working 180 days or less other than state-budgeted Pre-K reductions and a average class size increase of one student in kindergarten and one student in grades 2 and 3.

The 18.59 mill rate held steady again this year despite a decrease of approximately 3 percent in the county’s tax digest that represents the combined value of all real and personal property in the county.

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