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School board approves millage rate decrease
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The Rockdale County Board of Education voted 5-1 (with member Katrina Young not present) to lower the school portion of the property tax rate by 0.7 mils, or about 3 percent, to 25.32 mils on July 29. This is the second year in a row the millage rate has been lowered slightly.

This is projected to collect about $153,000 less locally than the rate in 2014. Rockdale County Public Schools collects a little less than half its funding from local property taxes, about half from the state, and the rest from federal and other funds.

With sunnier budget forecasts and more funding coming from the state, this year is a marked change from previous years that saw sharp budget cuts, increased tax rates but less collected due to lower tax digests (or the value of taxable property).

During 2010-2012, the millage rate was increased twice, by 1.51 mils in 2011 and 1.5 mils in 2013. Despite the increases, the school system still collected at least $10 million less in 2013 than in 2010, due to falling property values. The projected tax digest for 2015 has shrunk to about three-fourths of what existed in 2010.

This year, the school system is projected to collect about $11.8 million less locally than what was collected in 2010.

This year's school budget will see about $10.9 million more coming from the state. Of that, about $2.8 million is due to reduced austerity cuts, which means the state is paying more of what it is supposed to be paying to the school system. About $4 million is from growing enrollment and equalization formulas.

A mil is $1 charged per $1000 of taxable value. A home with a fair market value of $100,000 would see a proposed tax decrease of approximately $7.