County schools say no tax hike

Union County School District officials said their goal was to approve a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year without asking for a tax increase and have come one step closer to keeping that committment.

The Union County School Board of Trustees last week passed a $20.7 million budget without the 4 percent increase in ad valorem tax money that it has requested over the past four years.
The district expects to receive $20,722,853 in revenue for fiscal year 2013, while it expects to spend $20,654,816.
School officials say that part of the reason the board decided not to ask for the ad valorem tax increase this year is because the district will receive $172,992 more in local contributions for new programs to be implemented.  In the current fiscal year, the school district received no local contributions.
Officials also said that the board had begun asking for the increase four years ago to help create and temporarily support the county-wide band program, with the expectation that it would eventually become self-sufficient, which it is expected to become after this year.
In addition to the two band directors currently employed by the district, two additional directors will be hired to help prepare students for the marching season in the fall.
The Mississippi Legislature and governor also approved the Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding again for this coming year, with a 2 percent increase to help supplement the employer retirement rate increase of 1.33 percent.
Union County Schools currently request 49.68 mills in ad valorem taxes from the Union County Supervisors.  In comparison, Alcorn County Schools request 52.76 mills, Benton County asks for 40.27, Lee County asks for 51.77, Pontotoc asks for 46.50 and North Tippah County asks for 43.15 mills.
A mill is the amount of tax per $1,000 of property’s value.