School board won't go to taxpayers for help - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School board won't go to taxpayers for help

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The Dougherty County School Board finance committee is slashing more spending to make up for a $3.5 million loss from the state.

There's actually good news for taxpayers in this.  The School Board will look at rolling back additional taxes forced on taxpayers when the state failed to approve the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant.

The measure must still get full approval from the board next week, but finance committee members say the taxpayers shouldn't be punished for cutbacks in Atlanta.

The Dougherty County School System is anticipating more state fund cuts. This year alone they've already lost $3.5 million, including three furlough days. 

"Basically all we're trying to do is implement common sense in these frugal times of a bad economy," said DCSS Finance Director Robert Lloyd.  That includes cutting three more cars out of the take home vehicle budget dropping the number to 15 and revamping the way they pay supplements to as many as 250 staff from principals to athletic coaches.

"We compare what they pay as supplements as a cash amount we compared what we paid and we made adjustments to the cash amounts," said Lloyd.

Despite the cuts, the finance committee won't go to the taxpayers for help, and even voted to roll back the homestead tax credit the state didn't pick up this year, saving each Dougherty County homeowner about $150.

"In years when the state does not fund the grant the board then automatically rolls back the millage rate for all homeowners to offset the school systems portion that is not funded by the state," said DCSS Finance Committee Chairman David Maschke.

The system ended the 2008-2009 school year with a surplus and those funds have helped offset recent cuts, but the board is taking a close look at the entire system and plans to combine jobs where possible, and with the savings they get from the supplements and energy savings, expects to be able to function, without it costing their students.

The finance committee has also asked the staff to look at the possibility of deeper cuts to the taxes senior citizens pay the district.

Senior citizens already get a break on taxes paid to the district and while members say they can't eliminate the tax, they're willing to look at a bigger savings for seniors.


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