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Millage drop?
Liberty BOE considering rate change
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The Liberty County Board of Education is considering rolling back the millage rate. The BOE heard a presentation at the Sept. 14, meeting. The presentation was done by the LCSS Chief Financial Officer Stephanie Clark. 

A millage rate is a measure commonly used to determine property taxes.  Millage is like a percentage.  One mill equals a tenth of a percent.

Local governments and school districts often express property taxes in millage rates.  One mill translates to $1 of property taxes per $1,000 of property value.  Therefore 16 mills would equal $16 per $1,000 of assessed value, or 1.6 percent of what the assessor deems the real estate or personal property to be worth.  

Last year the millage rate was kept at 16.358, the same as it was in 2019. Last year’s millage rate allowed the LCSS to collect $21.5 million. 

Clark recommended the Board consider rolling back the millage to 15.902, which will allow them to collect a little more than 22.2 million. But Clark explained after fees and using only a 97 percent collection rate they anticipate collecting $21.027 million, which was $697,861.10 more that they had projected to collect in their 2022 projected budget. The millage rate will be an action item at the next BOE meeting. 

LCSS Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry gave a COVID update and said the numbers are finally trending downward. He said as of Sept. 14, the transmission index rate was 887, down from the 1800s weeks prior. 

He added they need to do all they can to keep students safe because 96 percent of the student base chose to remain in classrooms. Only four percent wanted a virtual option.

“The students wanted in-person learning,” he said adding that other parents are now indicating they want their virtually taught kids back in class. “The challenge is still going to be in keeping everybody safe.”

During audience participation, Kisya Burnett, said the virtual option being offered by the LCSS was not the same as the option they had last year. She said it is hurting students like her son who relied on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans. 

IEPs provides individualized special education and related services to meet a child’s unique needs. A 504 plan provides services and changes to the learning environment to enable students to learn alongside their peers.

“The district disregarded the rights and laws for the IEPs and the 504 accommodations to their parents because they chose to have a safe environment for their child,” she said. “This virtual option plan that you all have it isn’t for our children. It is for your politics. It is a whole different program and it has taken away from my child.”

Board member Marcus Scott IV mentioned that other districts are offering an incentive to their employees to get a COVID shot. Dr. Perry said that while there is no incentive for getting the shot, district employees got $1,000 last year and the district is committed to giving another $1,500 this October. 

The BOE also heard a recommendation to replace existing large kitchen equipment that are beyond the service life and have been problematic. This project will replace 22 pieces of large kitchen equipment at 10 schools. The equipment includes food serving tables, hot and cold serving counters, utility carts, reach in coolers, combi oven, electric fryers and food warmers. The estimated cost is 200,000. The recommendation was presented as an informational item. 

The Board approved out of state travel for the Deputy Superintendent. The district has been invited to attend the Command and General Staff College recruiting in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on October 13 -16, 2021. The Deputy Superintendent will join Major General Costanza and provide information on what district opportunities are available for incoming Fort Stewart/HAAF families and the 3rd Infantry Division.  The cost approved is $200.

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