Bibb Board of Education tentatively approves SY 2017 budget, includes tax increase

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – In a 6-2 vote Monday night, the Bibb County Board of Education approved the tentative adoption of the SY 2017 budget.

The budget includes a 2 mill increase because the board wants to give teachers at 3% pay raise.

“We support them and we want to give them raises. They deserve a raise. They certainly have earned that,” said Bibb Board of Education Vice President Jason Downey.

The proposal also includes 14 additional music and art teachers, salary increases for bus drivers, a district-wide reading intervention initiative for all elementary schools, a summer opportunity program, 13 PBIS paraprofessionals for ISS support, one assistant principal and four counselors, according to the presentation at Monday night’s board meeting.

School Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones said the tax increase was proposed because during budget work sessions, board members said they wanted a pay increase for teachers.

Budget work sessions started in March.

“It’s going to take an increase in revenue and so that lead to a recommendation to increase the budget by 2 mill,” explained Dr. Jones.

At the beginning of the year, Governor Nathan Deal said he was going to include money in the state budget for teachers to get a 3% pay raise.

Dr. Jones said when the district looked at those numbers, it wasn’t enough.

“We started off looking at a 1%, one time. We then said okay what if we make it 2%, one time and as the board heard where we were and what we were attempting to do and looked a revenue numbers, they came to the conclusion, we ought to do it for our employees. We value them. We don’t want to make it a guessing game,” explained Dr. Jones.

Downey and Daryl Morton were the two who voted against tentatively adopting the budget.

“We said that we would be responsible stewards of their money which had not been done on the Bibb County Board of Education administration for some time. I think we’re still trying to build that trust back with the public. Granted, the ESPLOST money that we get goes toward facilities and we can’t use that to give teacher raises, but for me, I just think that there have got to be ways that we can be responsible,” explained Downey.

Downey also said his district already pays about 35% of the property taxes for the school millage.

“You’re talking about increasing the millage rate 2 mills and a third of the burden is going to be borne by district 6. I just could not do that,” said Downey.

The board plans to hold a public hearing before its meeting on June 16.

It will take a final vote on the budget on June 23.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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