Randolph County school board plans a tax increase - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Randolph County school board plans a tax increase

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July 16, 2004

Randolph County-- It's happening again at another South Georgia School system. This time the Randolph County School Board is considering raising property taxes to offset budget shortfalls.

We take a look at the budget problems facing Randolph County and other school systems all over South Georgia.

Randolph County School has now added its' names to a growing list of South Georgia school systems planning to raise property taxes to help plug budget shortfalls.

"Right now, we are cut to the bone we have no other choice but to raise taxes and there are several other systems that are in the same boat. If they did not raise them last year they will raise them this year," says Superintendent Bobby Jenkins.

Randolph School Board members will soon vote on a budget to increase property taxes more than eight percent.

It's a move that falls in line with Ben Hill County schools that are now considering an increase and Worth County schools that recently passed an increase.

School systems say state mandated teacher pay raises and fewer state dollars have given them few choices.

"Well I guess it boiled down to three choices; either raise the taxes or reduce supplements to teachers or cut para-professionals and the board choose to raise the taxes," says Jenkins

Randolph County is among the poorest Counties in Georgia and residents and business alike say they simply can't afford and new taxes.

Business owner Wayne Thomas says higher taxes will not only drive residents out of the County but it will also drive out businesses.

"Property taxes is to high right now. I feel like it will effect business-- people's ability to go out and eat and go out and do things they might enjoy," says Thomas.

But three out of five school board members believe an increase in taxes now is the only way to ensure the county's next generation is educated.

The School Board will hold three public meeting at the school board office on the proposed tax increase, July 22th and July 29th.

posted at 5:57PM by scott.hunter@walb.com

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