Lee schools don't expect tax increase

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – No tax increase is expected from the Lee County School District’s $65.266 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The district unveiled its 2012-13 budget during a public hearing Tuesday afternoon at its Central Office. The district’s school board will vote on the budget at its regular meeting next Tuesday.
Although tax rates are ultimately set by the county tax assessor, the budget calls for 62.21 mills, the same amount the district received this past year. That includes an operational millage rate of 48.69 and a debt millage rate of 13.52.
The projected budget anticipates $63.09 million in revenue, meaning the district will likely have to dip into its reserves to fully fund the budget.
Weeks said the district has several new expenditures this year, including about $100,000 it spent to upgrade computers for vocational education. It also spent $750,000 to adopt new textbooks and budgeted more money for diesel fuel this year.
The school district added eight new teaching positions to ease crowded classrooms and spent an extra $60,000 by contracting with a company to clean its schools at night. Last year, it used the maintenance workers on each of its campuses to do that work in addition to their other duties.
The district was also required to contribute an additional $330,000 to the state retirement system, Weeks said.
The budget will be funded by $14.85 million from local taxes, $2.3 million from other local sources, $33.7 million from the state, $6 million from federal sources and $6.2 million from such other sources as transfers and loans.
Expenditures include $33.5 million – or 51 percent – on instruction and $18.9 million on support services. It spends $9.47 million on facilities and debt and $3.3 million for non-instructional expenses like the cafeteria.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com