$229.4 million Fayette school budget includes partial rollback

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Present at May 20 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education were, from left, board members Brian Anderson and Barry Marchman, Superintendent Jody Barrow, Chairman Scott Hollowell and board members Roy Rabold and Leonard Presberg. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Present at May 20 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education were, from left, board members Brian Anderson and Barry Marchman, Superintendent Jody Barrow, Chairman Scott Hollowell and board members Roy Rabold and Leonard Presberg. Photo/Ben Nelms.

School Board member Marchman wants a larger reduction

Barry Marchman, member of the Fayette County board of Education. File photo.
Barry Marchman, member of the Fayette County board of Education. File photo.

The Fayette County Board of Education on June 3 took a second look at the 2020 budget totaling $229.4 million, which includes a quarter-mill property tax cut. There were no public comments on the upcoming budget.

Revenue sources for the 2020 budget total $229.4 million. The current budget totals $211.5 million. Pertaining to the 2020 budget, $111 million will come from state funds and $118 million will come from local property tax funds. The budget is based on a projected property digest increase of 8.24 percent.

Superintendent Jody Barrow said the budget includes a quarter-mill reduction in the millage rate that will be approved later this summer.

Some on the board preferred that the millage rate be lower beyond the quarter—mill target while others did not. The current school board millage rate is 19.5 mills.

Barrow said finance staff will look at trimming a bit more off the millage rate beyond the quarter-mill reduction.

Barrow during the discussion noted that the age 65 and over exemption (where those over 65 years of age can have 50 percent of school taxes reduced) continues to grow over the years. Roughly two-thirds of property tax bills, excluding those 65 and over taking the exemption, go the the school system.

Board member Barry Marchman during the discussion said he sticks with his earlier comment that he cannot support the budget as proposed. Marchman suggested the board consider far more than a small partial rollback.

Marchman at the May 20 meeting said, “I got my assessment this week and the assessment resulted in a higher net worth (for me) and my friends and neighbors, but not a higher cash flow. And we’re asking for a larger percentage of a family’s budget. Maybe that’s their vacation money or maybe it’s their grocery money. But whether it’s discretionary money or grocery money, I don’t feel like we have a right to keep taking just a little bit more of the family budget without a clear explanation, and you might argue that we are giving a clear explanation.”

Major increases included in the budget were a $3,000 salary increase in the state teachers salary schedule totaling $6.5 million, a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for other salaried employees totaling $600,000, step increase at $2.5 million, 28.5 additional school-based certified employees (such as teachers) at $2.5 million, 13 additional school-based classified employees (such as parapros) at $390,000 and 11.5 additional special education positions totaling $800,000.

The school board will adopt the budget on June 17.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I believe the Marchman fails to take into consideration the massive GOP Tax Cut of 2017; a tax cut, as promised, took money out of Washington DC, and put this money back into the pockets of America’s taxpayers. According to Representative Drew Ferguson the GOP Tax Cut provided additional money for Americans to buy a new car, remodel their kitchens, take the family on vacation, pay for college, save money for retirement, pay down personal debt, or spend more on public education in Fayette County. Georgians can never spend too much money on public education.