Chief Financial Officer Michael Bell presents the 2019 budget to the DeKalb County Board of Education. (Marlon A. Walker/MARLON.WALKER@AJC.COM)

DeKalb Schools seeks another tax increase

The DeKalb County School District says it intends to collect more in taxes this year to offset its increasing budget.

The DeKalb County Board of Education should vote later this month to leave its millage rate unchanged at 23.18 mills. With property values continuing to go up, that would increase the district’s tax collection approximately 6.81%. Last year’s increase, where the millage rate stayed the same, was for 9.5 percent in additional funds.

“The budget to be tentatively adopted by the DeKalb County Board of Education requires a millage rate higher than the rollback millage rate,” district officials said Wednesday, “therefore, before the DeKalb County Board of Education may finalize the tentative budget and set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires three public hearings to be held to allow the public opportunity to express their opinions on the increase.” 

DeKalb County School District officials have proposed a $1.161 billion operating budget for the 2019-2020 school year, up $64 million from the previous year’s approved budget.

DeKalb County Board of Education member Stan Jester said he believes some DeKalb County residents might get hit with tax bills with increases much higher than the district is advertising.

“Property owner tax bills on average will be going up by 6.81%,” said board member Stan Jester. “That’s not inconsequential. The state wants school districts to publicize they are collecting more in taxes. 

“I suspect that tax bills on average are going up more than that in incorporates areas.”

Two hearings on the millage rate are scheduled for June 10 at 11:30 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. Another is set for June 25 at 6:15 p.m., the day the district’s budget is set to be approved. All will be held at school district headquarters, in the J. David Williamson Board Room, 1701 Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain.

So far, district officials have only made a summary budget detail for the 2019-2020 budget available to the public.

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