MCBOE Rolls Back Millage Rate
At a called meeting on Friday, August 18, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to roll back the millage rate past the official rollback rate to 14.75 mills.
According to the Board, the official rollback rate for the Board’s set millage rate would be 14.95, just slightly less than the past 15.00 rate for FY23. Board Chairman Henry Price explained that the Board had reviewed the rate with both the best interest of the schools and local taxpayers in mind and came to the solution of setting the rate at 14.75, and even stated that the Board would look at lowering the rate even further in the future, depending on the tax digests.
Superintendent Stan Rentz also commented, “With the cost of benefits to classified continued from page
employees set to almost double in the next 2 years and much less revenue in federal funds for FY24, it is still the prudent and responsible thing to do to examine the millage rate and tax digest each year. It is a balancing act to set the millage rate as low as possible while at the same time providing the very best education and opportunities for the children of Montgomery County. I’m glad we are able to lower the millage rate without affecting the quality of education we can provide our students.”
The Board also held a public hearing on the new FY24 budget, which was approved after a second public hearing on Monday, August 21. At the hearing on Friday, the Board issued attendees copies of the budget, along with a list of the financial challenges which the school system faces. According to the Board, the school will operate with almost $2 million less of funding, as the previous COVID funding begins to dissipate. In addition to this, classified benefits are set to double in cost within the next few years, and that increase has already begun to plague the school system. Montgomery County educators and staff have some of the lowest salaries in the state in relation to other districts. Teachers recently received a $5,000 raise over the past 3 years, totaling an average increase of 8.3%, but simultaneously, inflation has occurred within the past 3 years at a rate of 17.9%. The district even shared that their paraprofessionals and assistant teachers earned an average salary of $17,000 per year – an issue that the district is actively working to solve.
“The lowest starting salary at Buc-ees convenience store is $32,000,” Superintendent Stan Rentz emphasized. “We have to do better for our teachers and staff who work so hard for us.”
Citizen Amie Vassey was the only public participant for the meeting, sharing that she appreciated the work which the Board did to help inform the public of their intentions with the annual budget; however, Vassey urged Board members to use funds from the General Fund reserve to avoid a raise in ad valorem taxes. “The Board of Commissioners announced that they are doing the same thing for their budget, so I just respectfully ask that you do the same to help alleviate some of the taxes on citizens within the County,” she emphasized.
Because there is no tax increase associated with the millage rate rollback, no further public hearings are required for the adoption of the rate, making Monday’s approval of the budget the final action to prepare financially for the upcoming year.