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School budget plan raises taxes

Citrus County property owners could see their tax rate to support schools rise by 3.5 percent for the coming year to help finance a $115-million budget.

The budget is partially financed by a proposed tax rate of 9.816 mills, or roughly $9.80 in tax for every $1,000 of appraised taxable property value. For the owner of a $50,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption, that rate would mean a tax bill of $245.40 to support schools, an $8.20 increase from the 1995-96 school year.

The proposed budget includes 13{ new teaching positions, eight support positions, 2{ administrative positions and three exceptional student education positions.

Money has also been set aside in the 1996-97 proposed budget for the new "four by four" scheduling pilot program in two of the county's high schools this fall and automatic pay raises based on experience.

Other teacher and employee raises have not yet been set. Those will be determined after the county's teachers settle their contract.

The capital, or building project, side of the budget amounts to $23.6-million. The plan includes major projects such as the nearly $7-million plan to demolish, remodel and rebuild portions of Inverness Middle School, as well as smaller building and remodeling jobs at Crystal River High School and Lecanto High School.

Administrators on Tuesday also brought the board a detailed report on where the district obtains money to buy textbooks and other instructional materials and how the money is divided among schools.

The information was sought by board member Sheila Whitelaw, who has voiced concerns that not enough money is being spent on textbooks for students.

School Board Chairman Mark Stone told the board Tuesday evening that he will propose a plan to put more dollars into student-oriented programs by redistributing funds. He said he intends to submit it to the board in August.

The first public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday. A second hearing will be held in September.

School Board budget

School Tax rate Total

year in mills budget

1983-84 5.60 $36.8-million

1984-85 5.93 $35.4-million

1985-86 6.74 $38.9-million

1986-87 6.74 $42.4-million

1987-88 7.47 $50.3-million

1988-89 7.79 $61.96-million

1989-90 8.46 $71.9-million

1990-91 8.97 $82.3-million

1991-92 9.09 $87.1-million

1992-93 9.24 $86.4-million

1993-94 9.12 $92.6-million

1994-95 9.42 $97.9-million

1995-96 9.49 $107.8-million

1996-97 proposed 9.82 $115.9-million