The Gainesville City Schools Board of Education on Monday, May 20, tentatively adopted a $75.3 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1, while setting its property tax rate at its lowest mark in more than 20 years.
The board will host two public meetings next month before casting a final vote June 17 on the proposed budget and a millage rate of 6.612.
That figure is a full rollback of the tax rate, down from 6.85, to account for increases in revenue from property tax reassessments.
“It’s good news for Gainesville businesses that comprise the bulk of our tax base,” said board member Sammy Smith.
School taxes in the city are assessed at 100 percent of a property’s value. That means taxpayers will save $23.80 per $100,000 of assessed property value if the school board formally approves the proposed budget.
Superintendent Jeremy Williams said there is “no need to continue at 6.85 mills” because of an infusion of state funding, increased local tax revenues and the school system’s ability to meet its needs by only taking $4,000 out of a $16 million reserve fund to balance its budget for next year.
The proposed budget is up more than $3 million from the current year, with most of the additional expenditures coming out of state funds to support salary increases for about 650 certified teachers.
Gainesville City Schools officials have budgeted a 4 percent raise for an additional 300 classified staff, such as paraprofessionals, clerks and cafeteria staff, out of local revenues.
Williams said bumping raises for classified staff is a big boost to personnel who play key support roles.
The proposed budget also calls for about $500,000 to add positions at its elementary and middle schools.
Gainesville City Schools has an enrollment of more than 8,000 students, with the biggest year-over-year increases occurring within the district’s one middle school, Williams said.
“The feedback we got from everybody was, ‘Let’s do what we can,’” Williams said.
Another $417,000 will replace four school buses.
“(The budget) includes a lot of things I think we’ve asked for in terms of supporting student services while being financially” responsible, board chair John Filson said.
Gainesville City Schools budget hearings
What: Public forums on proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year
When: 5:30 p.m. June 3 and June 17
Where: Gainesville City Schools administration office, 508 Oak St.
More info: Visit www.gcssk12.net