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Public hearings on proposed millage rate to be held in June

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Board of Education will have three public hearings before officially setting the millage rate, which determines school tax bills for the next year.

The school system is looking to maintain the millage rate at 20.55 mills. Under the proposed rate, taxpayers whose property has not been reassessed this year will see no change in their school tax bill.

Parents and community members will have three chances in June to go before the school board to voice their support or opposition to the current rate.

The school millage rate is used to support the budget for the next academic year, which was adopted during the school board's May 11 meeting.

Despite its anticipated increase in student growth, the school system is keeping the same rate as last year. The total enrollment for the 2006 to 2007 school year is about 151,000 students - a 5 percent increase from this year.

Reductions in state revenue for the budget have shifted the burden of school funding to local property taxes, said Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

State revenue cuts will equal more than $15 million for the next year. The cumulative effect of state reductions over the past five years is approximately $103 million.

"This presents a formidable challenge in meeting the needs of the rapidly growing school system, not only for fiscal year 2007, but for future years as well," Roach said.

There will be a sign-up sheet available at the public hearings for residents wishing to speak to the board about the millage rate.

An executive summary of the school system's adopted budget is available to the public through the school

system's Web site at

www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us.