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Hall school board approves budget with employee raises
Members of the Hall County school board approved a 2017-18 fiscal year budget that includes more than $12 million in new spending while setting a tax millage rate a little lower than it was in the previous year. Among the highlights of the budget approved Monday night are: • A 2.5 percent pay increase for all of the district’s approximately 3,400 employees • An increase in money spent for teacher retirement benefits and health insurance premiums for non-teachers • An additional $102,796 is budgeted for 1.5 teacher positions that are being added for the English language learners program • $50,000 for efforts to keep drugs out of the school district, including an estimated $15,000 for the purchase of a drug-sniffing dog trained to find drugs in schools • A general fund budget of $265.15 million and a total budget of $371.4 million, which includes all funds for all programs coming into the district The budget also drops the tax rate from 18.8 mills to 18.5 mills, but would still be a increase for some taxpayers who saw their property reassessment go up in 2017. The value of property subject to Hall County school taxes increased by 5.61 percent, according to Jonathan Boykin, finance officer for the school district.