SPSD Budget

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

SP won’t request mill raise

By Rupert Howell

“We are aware that people don’t want to pay additional taxes,” school board president Lygunnah Bean noted as he and fellow South Panola School District trustees reviewed the budgeting process and set the stage for a series of public hearings and budget adoption meetings that begin June 20 and continue on June 27.

At a special meeting held at the Parenting Center last Thursday Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer and Financial Director Suzanne Covington reviewed with trustees sources of revenue and then tracked projected expenditures for the 2008-09 school year.

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The bad news is that it will take additional revenue over what was received last year to fund a proposed budget.

The good news is that school officials are not planning to ask for tax or millage increases with new property construction adding needed revenue to make the difference if county projections hold true.

According to an ad running in this newspaper $30,255,714 in revenue will be needed and of that, 24.6 percent or $7,449,986 will be financed through local ad valorem tax millage in the school district.

Last year the local amount of revenue was $6,807,980 or 23.9 percent of the total budget.

School districts are allowed to receive up to a four percent per year increase in revenue of the previous year’s base millage. An increase greater than four percent would permit voters an opportunity to petition for an election to approve the increase.

Last year trustees sought and received a two percent increase for the current year’s budget according to Shaffer. Although the preliminary budget shows a zero for the local amount of new programs, Shaffer said the school was “hit hard” with new legislation that increases the state’s pay scale for teachers with 25 years or more experience.

The legislation was passed as an incentive to keep experienced teachers in the job pool when they would qualify for retirement.

Trustees had earlier approved an increase in local subsidy that the district pays on top of the state’s pay scale amounting to $1,250, a $250 per teacher raise over last year.