City schools will get more money but no tax increase needed

August 3rd, 2021     City schools

Thanks to an increase in the overall value of the city, the New Albany Municipal Separate School District will receive more funds next year without having to raise taxes.

This will be the third year school millage will not have to be raised.

Director of Accounting Services Suzanne Coffey told school trustees at the budget hearing Monday that the increase would amount to about $300,000 more for the district.

A recurring theme concerning school budgets is the legislature’s failure to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

Coffey said the program had not been fully funded despite the legislative commitment since the 2004-2005 year.

She said if the program were in fact fully funded, city schools here would receive $12,781,021. Instead, New Albany schools will receive $11,430,092, about $1.35 million less.

She added that if MAEP had been fully funded throughout the years, New Albany schools would have received about $15 million they have instead lost over that time.

She said the state is proving an added $1,000 multiplied by benefits for each teacher, amounting to $233,675 the city district will receive.

She expects health benefits for the district’s 320 employees to go up four percent in January and has included that in the budget. Also, she said she has compensated for the likely greater utility cost for the coming year.

The city’s assessed valuation, used to determine how much money one mill of tax should bring in, was $95,532,503 last year. This year’s value is $101,303,823, an increase of about six percent.

The net ad valorem tax request from the city is $5,184,553 and the millage rate for the past two years has been 67.71 mills.

About half the district’s revenue come from state funds, about one third from local sources and about one eighth from federal money.

The budget must be submitted to city officials by Aug. 15 so it probably will be voted on at a called meeting before then.

The schools submit a dollar amount needed and it is up to the city to convert that into the tax millage.

“This is my twentieth year doing the budget and I am always very conservative about revenue and expenses,” Coffey said. She added the school year just ending is within budgeted amounts and will leave the district with a fund balance of about $1,850,000. The district tries to keep a balance of $1.5 million, which is about what it costs to operate for one month.

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