Greene County BOE approves rollback millage rate and FY24 budget
August 17, 2023
Greensboro, Ga. – The Greene County Board of Education approved a rollback millage rate for the 5th consecutive year and the Fiscal Year 2024 budget at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, August 17th. At 10.311 this year, the Greene County BOE millage rate is among the 10 lowest school board millage rates in the state.
“This year’s budget planning process faced a number of challenges in the form of unfunded cost increases from the state, such as a 59% surge in the employer-paid cost of health insurance, as well as a decrease in our state funding,” said Dr. Chris Houston, Superintendent. “However, through sound financial management and careful planning, we are pleased to be able to avoid passing that cost along to the taxpayer and instead pass a rollback millage rate, which our BOE has done every year since 2019.”
The employer-paid cost of the state health insurance plan for school employees increased from $11,340 per employee to $18,980 this year, a total increase of $1.3 million in the district’s health insurance costs.
Greene County’s tax digest continued to grow in 2023, resulting in greater ad valorem taxes received by the school district, but also causing the state to reduce the school system’s funding accordingly, despite the district having more students enrolled than the previous year. School districts earn state funding based on student enrollment, but counties judged by the state to be wealthy because of strong real estate markets and large tax digests are subjected to a five-mil “giveback” in state funding that is redistributed by the Georgia Department of Education to other, less wealthy counties across the state. This year, Greene County Schools’ 5-mil giveback is larger than ever before at $10.5 million, 51% of its earned funding.
Along with receiving only 49% of its earned funding from the state, the school district’s budget also saw increases in areas such as the cost of utilities by $250,000, an approximate $500,000 cost to educate GNETs students locally due to the closure of the Rutland Academy facility in Athens, and salary and benefits increases due to Governor Kemp’s raise for school staff at a local cost of over $600,000 to the district.
“I am grateful to our CFO Dean Ware and our finance department staff for their diligent work in once again creating a sound, balanced budget that addresses these challenges and keeps the burden off of our community,” Dr. Houston said. “With the average taxpayer facing rising prices due to inflation on a daily basis, we are grateful to be able to provide some relief in the area of school taxes in Greene County.”
The Greene County School System has won the Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Georgia Department of Audits and Account for six consecutive years, every year since the award was established.