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Thursday, September 9, 2010

.25 Mil School Tax Continuance Will Be On November Ballot

For the past two years the State has forced the local school boards across the state to increase local property tax levies by .25 mils in order to receive a greater amount of state funding. These requirements coincided with general reductions in state funding to local schools. These previous levies were passed by School Board action.

In the case of Jackson County Schools, the additional property tax rate amounted into an increase of $382,859 in local tax revenue. Then, since the county had complied, the state added an “Equalization Component” of $588,720. The schools would not have gotten this state money if they had refused to add the .25 mils. The State Dept. of Education placed this system into effect in order to force increases in local funding for schools. This .25 mil action has already taken place for the 2010-2011 budget year.

Legislation was passed during the last session in Tallahassee which now requires the school boards to gain local voter approval before the .25 mil increases can remain in effect. This would be for the next two budget years, thru 2013. This is not a vote on increasing the millage, it is a vote on allowing the school system to keep the millage they now have in effect. If the measure is denied by Jackson County’s voters in November, school funding would be decreased by $971,519 per year.

Before the Supervisor of Elections can place this issue on the ballot, the action must first gain approval from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. It will be on the agenda for their next meeting.

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