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Board of Education Holds Second Budget Hearing

News Editor

The Dade County Board of Education held its second public budget hearing at noon on June 20. The first hearing was on June 12. No citizens attended the first meeting. The Sentinel attended the second meeting.

At the time of printing, the budget was scheduled to be voted on at the June 26 regular board meeting.

Superintendent Josh Ingle noted that the board does not yet have the new tax digest, so they planned the budget with estimates based on the most recent tax digest – a millage rate of 14.2. Ingle said, “Once we get new information, that’s when the board will determine the millage rate.”

The school board sets its own millage rate which is in addition to the county and city millage rates. Last year’s unincorporated county millage rate was 8.0, while the incorporated county millage rate was 10.5535.

Ingle reported that 62% of the General Fund comes from state funding, 31% comes from property taxes, and 7% comes from other sources such as car tag payments and additional grants.

The school board’s estimated General Fund revenue is $21,040,918 with estimated expenses of $22,011,262. The estimated Special Revenue Fund revenue is $6,017,807 with estimated expenses of the same amount. The estimated Capital Projects (SPLOST) Fund revenue is $3,100,000 with estimated expenses of $3,000,000.

Ingle noted that the General Fund expenditure is $970,344 over the revenue amount, citing numerous contributing factors. First, state health benefits are increasing by $7,500 per certified staff member per year. (Classified staff will be phased in over three years.)

Second, the governor mandated a minimum $2,000 salary increase for certified staff.

Third, Dade County Schools will not receive any equalization funding for fiscal year 2024.

Fourth, Local Fair Share (money taken by the state) has increased by $396,000. “That’s the first five mills. The state takes that away,” said Ingle.

Fifth, expenditures in general are increasing.

Instruction costs make up the bulk of General Fund expenses at 69.5% of the total. Maintenance and operations is the second largest expense at 8.3%, and school administration is the third at 7.7%. Every other category was less than 4% of the expenses.

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