School board plans to maintain millage rate

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

GWINNETT COUNTY -- The millage rate is among topics scheduled for discussion at Thursday's Gwinnett County Board of Education meeting. A vote on the matter should follow.

Vice Chairman Louise Radloff said Gwinnett County residents shouldn't expect a raise in taxes.

"The (board of education), even with its full understanding of the crisis in the economy, does not believe it is very wise to think about, let alone discuss increasing the millage rate even though there are needs that exist," Radloff said.

"We need to work through the current dollars that we have."

The board plans to maintain the total millage rate at 20.55 for the seventh consecutive year, and members tentatively set the millage rate after adopting the budget on May 19. The rate determines the amount of tax property owners must pay.

The Gwinnett County Board of Education unanimously adopted a $1.7 billion budget for the upcoming school year.

The budget, which went into effect on July 1, is $111 million less than it was last year. Although spending cuts were necessary to balance the budget, board member Mary Kay Murphy noted when the budget was adopted that no employees were laid off as a result of the cuts.

More than half of the budget's beginning $75 million revenue shortfall -- $42 million -- was attributed to the decline in local revenue, which is property tax. Chief Financial Officer Rick Cost said one mill is expected to generate $25.6 million for the school system, which is lower than the 2007 values.

Thursday's meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the board room at the Instructional Support Center, located at 437 Old Peachtree Road N.W., Suwanee.