Public School Taxes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh yeah, and about those public school taxes…

By Billy Davis

His phone isn’t ringing off the hook, but county Supervisor Gary Thompson said he was asked the same question several times last week: where are the public schools?

Thompson was referring to a story in the September 12 issue of The Panolian, “‘Bad timing’ say critics of new county budget,” that recounted supervisors’ approval of the new county budget.

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The story included a front-page pie chart that showed the county’s allocation of taxpayers’ money for courts, the sheriff’s department, the road department, and other spending priorities.

The phone calls began, Thompson said, because the chart published in The Panolian did not show funding for Panola County’s North Panola and South Panola schools.

Administrator Kelley Magee prepared several helpful tables and charts, including two pie charts that showed public school funding, for supervisors and the public prior to the September 11 budget hearing

The chart previously published showed tax monies budgeted by supervisors over several meetings and finalized following Thursday’s public hearing.

Public hearings for school budgets had been held previously by school board trustees.

“What I want people to know is that our budget is 51 percent of 100 percent,” Thompson said. “The rest goes to the schools.”

Funding for public schools was mentioned briefly at the budget hearing, when outgoing Administrator David Chandler rattled off the allocation of tax monies for North Panola and South Panola.  

“The supervisors are in charge of roughly 50 percent of what taxpayers pay,” Chandler said at the meeting.

Supervisors approved a five-mill increase for the coming fiscal year, which begins October 1. Property taxes in South Panola will jump an additional 2.88 mills due to that district’s budget request.