Bibb Board of Education keeps tax levy at same rate

Bibb County school board members unanimously voted to keep the tax levy the same at a called meeting Tuesday night.

“It’s that time of the year again when we have the tentative adoption of the millage rate,” Ron Collier, the school district’s chief financial officer, said.

The board voted to keep the rate at 17.945 mills, which is the same rate it’s been for the past six years, Collier added.

“The board has tried to hold the line on tax increases in the future,” he said.

The proposed millage rate will be publicized for two weeks, and then a public hearing will be held at 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 20 before the final adoption is presented to the board that same evening.

The board also unanimously voted to enter into an agreement with Macon-Bibb to reimburse the county for all expenses -- an estimated $70,000 -- related to the Nov. 3 education tax election (ESPLOST).

In another matter, Jason Daniel, executive director of capital programs, presented a recommendation to revise the current ESPLOST budget to help build out space at the Robert J. Williams Complex at Anthony Road.

The district received a $3 million grant last year to help with renovations, but the estimated costs to fund the project -- design, construction and equipment -- are at $7 million.

To make up the $4 million difference, Daniels suggested delaying classroom additions at Heritage and Carter elementary schools as well as eliminating the renovation line item for Appling Middle.

He said, when the classroom additions were planned, the enrollment numbers were “trending up at the time.”

The additions were “place holder” line items, but Daniels said they wouldn’t be needed since the last two years have shown the numbers trending down.

Another big item, Superintendent Curtis Jones said, was the renewal of E2020 Credit Recovery and AIMSWEB RTI software, which cost the district $150,000 and $117,800 respectively.

“I’m excited about the continuation of the AIMSWEB program,” he said. “It was important for the board to authorize that.”

He added that the program has been instrumental in assessing the reading levels of first- thru ninth-graders.

Since taking office in April, increasing the reading level has been one of Jones’ main goals towards improving the school system.

To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382 or find him on Twitter@davidcschick.