The school board approved an $818 million general fund budget this month, before the district knew the full impact that rising Fulton County property assessments would have on school tax revenue. Fulton taxes make up about 90 percent of the district’s local revenue.
The budget predicted the district would receive $597.4 million in local revenue, an estimate based on keeping the current millage rate.
But because updated information from Fulton County showed larger than anticipated increases in property values, APS estimates it would receive about $607 million in local revenue if it lowers the tax rate by one mill.
Homeowner have asked for tax relief after seeing much-higher property assessments and, therefore, larger estimated tax bills.
Last year, Fulton County froze values at 2016 levels, a move that caused cash-flow problems for the school district and prompted budget cuts.
APS officials have said this year’s assessment hikes follow years of the county failing to keep up with property values.
“People are really, really hurting, and I think that it’s very important for us to keep that in mind,” said school board member Nancy Meister, during Friday’s meeting.
District officials said they’re facing other financial pressures also, such as a proposal that would increase the homestead exemption in 2019 as well as some tax revenue that gets diverted to development projects within tax allocation districts instead of going to the school district.