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Hernando School Board tentatively approves $274 million budget

It’s $10 million bigger than last year’s budget.
Hernando County School District [Douglas R. Clifford | Times (2018)]
Hernando County School District [Douglas R. Clifford | Times (2018)]
Published Jul. 30

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District is set to go into the 2019-2020 year with a budget of about $10 million more than last year, largely thanks to increases in state funding and tax revenue.

The School Board reviewed both the tentative budget and the tentative millage rate Tuesday evening and approved both, with little discussion. The Board will consider them again for finalization in six weeks.

This year's tentative budget totals more than $274 million, which includes an anticipated $8 million increase in state funding over last year's budget. The budget projects the district to end the fiscal year with a general fund balance of more than $17 million, $2 million below where it sits now.

More than half of the budget, about $148 million, would go to salaries and benefits. Those dollars would make up a slightly larger portion of the general fund appropriations than last year's budget called for.

Meanwhile, despite a tax roll increase of more than $600 million, school district revenue generated by property taxes is set to increase by less than $2 million. That's because the local school board millage rate required by state law decreased from last year. A mill is a unit of property tax measurement equal to $1 for every $1,000 of a property's assessed value.

Because of the lower millage rate, the owner of a $150,000 home, for example, would pay about $22 less than they did in the previous tax year, according to an analysis presented to the School Board. Despite an upward trend in property values, millage rates have decreased nearly every year since 2011, leading the School Board to explore the possibility of asking voters to raise it in 2020.

The budget could see some changes before the board finalizes it, budget director Kendra Sittig said. It’s set for a final hearing on Sept. 10.

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