The board of education unanimously approved the fiscal year 2019 budget Monday night, following the second and final public hearing at the monthly meeting.
The first hearing was held during the May 7 board meeting.
The general fund has been set at $47,766,471 and this year’s budget is an increase of $2,314,087 from the FY18 budget.
As continues to be the case, the majority of the budget is the 86.39 percent allotted to employee salaries and benefits.
The 2018 budget is based on an anticipated tax digest of $20.8 million, if the millage rate is maintained at 15.778, according to Director of Finance Jamie Ulrich.
“We all got new assessments in the mail this week for our property,” board member Elaine Wilson said. “What my statement is- if everybody’s went up as much as mine did and taxes are going to go up as much as mine, is that not going to affect our revenue?”
Superintendent Damon Gibbs responded to Wilson’s comment, saying that he and Ulrich have been having conversations with the county and have been told unofficially to expect a 10 percent digest increase.
If there will be such an increase, Gibbs said, there would need to be a conversation about the school system’s millage rate.
“We’re working daily with the county trying to get a more solid number so that we will be prepared for our millage rate,” Gibbs said.
The 2018 tax assessment notices were mailed out to residents of Dawson County June 4 and the digest cannot be set until 45 days after the notices go out to homeowners.
The preliminary numbers for the total tax digest for Dawson County from the Tax Commissioner’s Office will not be available until the end of June, but the system’s budget must be approved by that time according to law.
Millage rate hearings will not begin until August after the tax digest is known.
Dawson County Schools also received a reimbursement grant from the state in the amount of $47,940 for safety upgrades. The board had previously approved $400,000 in ESPLOST funds to be spent on safety upgrades, and will apply for reimbursement from the state for the $47,940 spent.
Other budgets approved Monday include those for debt service, capital projects, Title I, Title IIA, Title VIB, federal preschool, Bright Start, Ivey funds, JROTC and school food service.
Member Will Wade was not present at the June 11 meeting.