City, county schools see revenue shortfall

Both Tupelo and Lee County school boards declared tax collection shortfalls on Tuesday.
The shortfalls – which are determined by set funding formulas – indicated the school districts did not get all of the revenue that should have been raised by their tax millage.
For the Tupelo Public School District, the shortfall is $276,244, said Linda Pannell, Tupelo Public School District finance director.
For the Lee County Schools, the shortfall is $243,839, said Randy Thweatt, Lee County Schools finance director.
Both districts will take out a three-year note to cover shortfall amounts to close their fiscal years which ended June 30. The Tupelo City Council and Lee County Board of Supervisors will set a millage rate to cover the loan over three years. One mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.
The impact on tax payers should be minimal, as less than one mill will be needed to cover the shortfalls.
“Even putting this into the formula, we’re still below where we were last year,” Pannell told the Tupelo board on Tuesday.
This is the third year the Tupelo district has had to declare a shortfall.
Thweatt anticipates Lee County supervisors will have to add .33 to .4 mills to cover the shortfall for the county school district.
“It’s a very slight millage increase,” Thweatt said.
For 2007-2008 fiscal year, Lee County received too much money from its millage and had to put money into escrow, Thweatt said. They applied that extra money to the following fiscal year’s allocation.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal