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Hearings set for schools’ new budgets

Lincoln County and Brookhaven school officials will discussspending plans for next year during public hearings Monday at therespective districts’ central offices.

The Lincoln County School District’s public hearing will be at4:30 p.m. at its Monticello Street office while the BrookhavenSchool District’s hearing will be at 6 p.m. at its East CourtStreet office near the high school.

Both school districts plan to seek additional funding from localsources in the form of ad valorem property taxes.

In the Brookhaven School District, officials plan to ask for$5.43 million from the local tax levy.

That represents an increase of around $28,000, but the new yearfunds will account for a higher percentage, 29 next year versus24.7 percent this year, of the district’s total $18.7 millionbudget. The district’s overall new year budget will be down fromthe current $21.8 million.

In the Lincoln County School District, officials will ask forapproximately $150,000 more from local sources to help finance anoverall $15.1 million budget. Of that $2.05 million, or 13.6percent, will be from local sources.

The school district is currently operating on a $15.07 millionbudget, with $1.9 million or 12.6 percent coming in the form oflocal sources.

Lincoln County Superintendent of Education Perry Miller saidmore local revenue is needed to help offset funding cuts from thestate and to cover higher utility bills.

“We’ve had our utility bill skyrocket,” Miller said, whilementioning $80,000 in state funding cuts to the district. “Andwe’re expecting more budget cuts next year.”

Miller said the increase will be for “general operations” butthe majority will be budgeted for utility bills.

“Some of our schools exceeded their utility budgets inFebruary,” Miller said about the current fiscal year that does notend until June 30.

According to the county’s published notice of tax increase, itwill ask for a 1.99 mill increase in the local property taxlevy.

A county-wide property reappraisal could affect the millageamount. Miller said the levy request is based on current totals andcould be less or more depending on new property totals.

“We don’t ask for millage. We ask for money,” Miller said,adding it’s up to supervisors to determine the tax levy that willraise the amount of money needed.

With state funding reduced, Miller complimented school officialson their efforts to get the “biggest bang for the buck.”

“I think we take our money and do well,” Miller said. “We givethe taxpayers their money’s worth.”