The millage rate is set at its maximum level as the district adds programs and teachers.
The School Board finished work Tuesday on its budget and tax plan for 2000-01, approving a lower school property tax rate while raising salaries and adding new programs and staff.
The board set the tax rate at 10.176 mills _ the maximum allowed under state law _ but still a drop of 2.9 percent from what the state allowed last year. A mill is $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed, non-exempt property. Under the new rate, a $50,000 home with a $25,000 homestead exemption will be taxed at $254.40, a savings of $7.65 over last year's rate.
Still, growth in the county's tax base allowed spending to go up. With debt payments, long-term building projects and other items, the total budget will reach $173.3-million, up from $138.7-million. Much of the increase is new lottery and sales tax revenues for the district's next high school.
The day-to-day operating budget will grow to $88.2-million, a $6.5-million increase. About $3.7-million goes for salary increases _ teachers and support staff got raises averaging 6 percent; principals and district administrators saw raises averaging 5 percent.
There's $1-million for new staff, including teachers to improve reading, reduce class sizes and cope with growth. A new microsociety and arts program at Powell Middle School adds $150,000 to the budget. A new fundamental school program at Brooksville Elementary will require two teachers at a cost of about $80,000.
Not everything is rosy. School lunch prices went up this year. And the district's fund balance _ its cash cushion for emergencies _ shrinks from $2.1-million to $1.8-million.