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School board holds millage rate at 16
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The Liberty County Board of Education unanimously voted to keep its millage rate at 16 mills next year during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
The approved rate should bring in an estimated $17,688,264 in property taxes for system operations, school administrators said.
The system announced its proposed tax in the Nov. 3 Courier.
“The district received the consolidation sheets from the local tax digest and ran numerous calculations and scenarios with various millage rates,” Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services, told board members. “In addition, the district compiled information from counties across the state of Georgia to determine the average statewide millage rate of 16 mills.”
Rogers added the estimated property-tax collection rate was 94 percent.
The millage rate was 16 mills in 2012, an increase from 15.5 in 2010 and 2011. It was slightly higher – 15.6 – in 2008 and 2009.
The school board also approved a proposed budget-planning calendar for fiscal year 2015. The LCSS fiscal year runs July 1-June 30.
Next month, board members will review funding sources, identify budget priorities and establish a citizen budget committee. In January, the citizens and the system budget committees will organize. Department and school budget meetings also will be held. The committees will continue to meet through June.
Staff projections will be made in February, along with final budget requests from departments and schools.
Budget work session will start in April, and hearings, another work session and tentative budget adoption are slated for May. Adoption is scheduled for June.
In other business Tuesday, the board:
• heard the first reading of two revised policies that, if approved, would eliminate the community-service requirement for graduation.
• approved five out-of-state travel requests. Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee will attend the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education Feb. 12-14 in Nashville, Tenn., at a cost of $1,500. The other requests were for students to attend current-event and science programs in Florida and Washington, D.C., in the spring. The students’ travel will not cost the system.
• approved an application to acquire state funds to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at Lyman Hall Elementary School. The work is expected to start in May. There is no cost to apply. The project will cost about $560,000. SPLOST money also will be used.
• amended a contract to allow Altman Barrett Architects to perform additional services for $27,500, or 5.5 percent of the project’s estimated $500,000. Altman Barrett will install fiber connection from Liberty County High School to the LCHS field house, add HVAC to the Donell Wood Stadium press box and improve the stadium’s bleachers. The architects also will design, bid and build security gates at the bus barns.
• amended a contract with Raymond Engineering. The company will provide roofing design and construction at Lewis Frasier Middle and Joseph Martin Elementary schools and a wall assessment for LCHS. The amendment cost is $11,600, to be paid from SPLOST funds.
• heard John Lyles, assistant superintendent for operations, report on a transportation audit that suggests hiring five more permanent substitute bus drivers. This would improve on-time performance and student safety, according to the audit. The estimated cost is $53,028 or $10,605.60 per driver.
• heard the system is authorized to buy four buses for $404,792. The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission would reimburse $308,880, Lyles said. The district would earmark $95,912 from SPLOST toward the purchase.
• approved personnel actions. Dr. Kathy Moody has been named executive director for student services. An academic coach, counselor and teacher were hired. Also hired were five bus drivers, five cooks, a bookkeeper and a custodian. A special-education teacher, two special-education aides, an ISS paraprofessional, school counselor and academic coach resigned.

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