The taxes on a home with a fair market value of $350,000 would be approximately $341.75 more than it was last year, according to a news release from the district.
Board member Allyson Gevertz brought up the idea of rolling back the millage rate by one-tenth of a mill.
“We don’t want to price out the families that we want to be living in our school district,” she said.
No other board members spoke one way or another about the idea. But state Rep. Doreen Carter, D-Lithonia, made similar comments on Monday, asking the board to consider reducing the millage rate to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
The millage rate has been the same in DeKalb since 2019. District staff were reluctant to suggest rolling back the rate, citing economic uncertainty in the coming years.
“The approach to the budgeting process this year has been very conservative,” said interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley. “And it’s been that way because of the concerns that are looming out there and the impact that these will have” on the budget for the 2024-2025 school year.
Last year, the DeKalb school system’s millage rate was the second-highest in the state, behind only Muscogee County School District, according to state data. It also had the highest among metro Atlanta districts.
Georgia law sets a property tax limit of 20 mills on most school systems in the state, but DeKalb has been allowed to exceed that rate since the 1970s because the county school system previously managed a junior college in addition to elementary and high schools. The district no longer manages the college.
Nancy Kelly, who addressed the board about the tentative millage rate on Monday, suggested the board has a responsibility to lower it because of that history.
“It seems to me that failing to lower the millage rate could be seen as dishonest and counterproductive,” she said.
This year, DeKalb’s proposed budget reduces spending by 10%. The overall budget totals $1.8 billion.
The school board will vote on the millage rate and budget at 11 a.m. June 20. The meeting will be virtual. People can sign up to speak until noon June 16 by calling 678-676-0722 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.