Cobb school board rejects calls to lower property tax rate

Cobb County’s Board of Education rebuffed a push by some board members to lower its tax rate.

The rate, approved last week, is the same it’s been since 2007: $18.90 per $1,000 of taxable property value. But because property values have gone up, many residents will be paying more than they did last year.

ExploreCobb school board approves $1.4 billion budget with employee raises

Some residents asked the district to lower taxes, looking for a relief from inflation. Board members David Banks, Jaha Howard and Tre Hutchins also indicated that they’d be interested in lowering the rate.

“Based on where we are as a nation, it is challenging for people currently,” Hutchins said at Thursday night’s meeting. “I would like for us to entertain, even minor, something that gives the community good faith that we are understanding where we are.”

Howard moved to lower the rate by $0.10, but only Hutchins supported the motion. Board member Charisse Davis was absent.

The school board approved a $1.4 billion budget in May based on the current tax rate. The budget included raises for all permanent employees and added dozens of new positions. Any changes to the tax rate would have required the board to revisit the budget.

ExploreMost metro Atlanta school boards reduce or maintain property tax rates

Howard maintained that the budget would have easily been able to absorb the “minimal” decrease. But other board members and Superintendent Chris Ragsdale disagreed.

“Though it’s honorable and commendable, the budget has been set for this year,” said board member Randy Scamihorn. “Our raises went out and I will not vote against our teachers.”

Ragsdale agreed to a request from Banks to bring information to the board over the next year about what it would look like if the board lowered the tax rate.