DeKalb school district to raise property tax

DCSD Budget pic

Public hearings detail $1 billion budget, maintaining 23.38 millage rate


As part of a proposed $1 billion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018, DeKalb County School District (DCSD) announced its intent to increase property taxes by more than 5 percent.

Legally required notices sent to The Champion indicate DCSD plans to keep its millage rate at 23.38 mills, the approved millage rate for the FY2017 budget and 5.06 percent above the rollback millage rate.

 A millage is defined as dollars of tax per thousand dollars of assessed value. If a house is valued at $100,000, under a rate of 5 mills, tax on such property would be $500 or $5 for every $1,000 the property is worth.

 Jurisdictions, at times, will implement a rollback millage rate, or the rate required to prevent an increase in property taxes. The rollback millage rate for DCSD in FY2018 is 22.253 mills.

 “We can all expect to see a bill for property taxes higher than it was last year,” said board member Stan Jester on June 3. “The question is, how much higher? How much is enough?”

 According to the proposed budget for FY2018, the property tax revenue will help fund a $1.01 billion budget, which details increases in the offices of the superintendent, regional superintendents, communications and community relations, curriculum and instruction, finance, information technology, legal affairs, student support and intervention, charter schools and the schools themselves.

 The budget also details decreases in the offices of facilities and operations, human capital management as well as strategic management and accountability.

 Reasons for the increases are included on the third page of the proposed budget in a section titled “considerations.” Such considerations include annual pay raises amounting to more than $31 million; retirement increases amounting to more than $14 million; health insurance increases totaling $1.8 million; a 403b match program at $4.2 million; a $2 million summer school program, $7.5 million for textbooks; the reinstitution of nurses for all middle and high schools costing $1.8 million; special education teachers costing $3.5 million; a $3.1 million contingency account; more than $1.7 million for a program called CIA2; and $18.2 million for DCSD’s regional support initiative.

 In total, the budget considerations include approximately $89 million in increases.

 DeKalb County commissioner Nancy Jester suggested that DCSD spend money in the classroom if it is not going to lower its millage rate.

 “Not even 65 percent makes it there,” she said on Stan Jester’s blog. “We should all start demanding that the assessment freeze start applying to the calculation of school taxes, as it does to county and city taxes. That has to be done at the state legislature.”

 DCSD’s first public budget hearing was on May 15 before the board of education’s official business meeting. It’s second budget hearing, first millage rate hearing and adoption of the FY2018 tentative budget will be June 12.

 DCSD will hold its second and third millage rate hearings on June 27. The board expects to formally adopt the final budget later that evening.


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  1. Erik Haagensen says:

    There is bad math or a typo in the article. It states that 5 mils means $5 per $1,000, but also says it is $5,000 per $100,000, which would $50 per $1,000.

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