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School millage rate OK'd without opposition

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Board of Education officially approved a millage rate Monday during the last of three public hearings this month.

The school system is planning to keep the rate at its current level of 20.55 mills.

No parents or community members attended any of the public hearings to support or oppose the rate, which determines school tax bills. The first was held June 5, and the last two were Monday.

Under the rate, taxpayers whose property has not been reassessed recently will see no change in their school tax bill.

On a house worth $150,000, a homeowner could expect to pay $1,556 under the current millage rate, according to Jeff Weiler, chief financial officer of Gwinnett County Public Schools. A $250,000 home would equal $1,978 in school tax bills.

The millage rate is used to support the school system's budget for the next academic year. Following two public budget hearings, it was adopted during the school board's May monthly meeting.

The bulk of the rate will go toward the maintenance and operations millage, which pays for the day-to-day operations of the school system, including employee salaries, instructional materials, student transportation and school utility costs. The other component is the debt services millage, which is used to pay down the school board's long-term debt over the years to pay for school construction.

The maintenance and operations millage will remain at 19.25 mills and the debt-service rate will stay at 1.30 mills.

The general fund, the component of the budget that covers the daily operations of the school system, will increase 4.9 percent to $1.101 billion. But the amount spent per student will actually decrease by $13 to $7,250, according to the proposed budget. That's because of the additional cost of educating an additional 7,305 students - the projected enrollment increase in the 2006-2007 school year.

For more information on the budget for next year, visit the school system's Web site at www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us.