The Gainesville City School Board spent the bulk of its regular meeting Monday night discussing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Board members voted unanimously to approve the staff recommendation of a $70.1 million spending plan that leaves the millage rate at 6.85 mills, which would mean a tax increase for some property owners based on the current projected tax digest.
Chief Financial Officer Chris Griner also presented the board with information on a millage rollback to 6.46, which would hold school taxes at their current level. However, doing that would mean dipping into reserve funds to fund the budget to the tune of $3.8 million.
"If we did the rollback, it would increase the amount of reserves we would have to use to balance the budget...and that's something we'll have to consider," Griner said following the vote.
Griner pointed out he won't know until late August or early September what the actual tax digest is, and he noted during the meeting, the amount of the reserve fund could increase, depending on how much SPLOST revenues come in. Both of those factors could change the final budget.
While board member Sammy Smith said he was concerned about the public perception of holding the millage rate at 6.85, outgoing Superintendent Dr. Wanda Creel said the board should look to the future as they consider the FY '18 budget.
"You're not just making a decision for today," Creel said.
Because the tentative budget does include a tax increase, the board is required to hold public hearings before a final vote. Those hearings are scheduled for May 22 and June 5, both at 5 p.m. at the board office on Oak Street in Gainesville.
A final vote is currently scheduled for June 19.