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School board holds millage rate at 24.5
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The Rockdale school board voted unanimously to keep the millage rate at 24.5, the same as last year, at a called meeting Thursday. The vote was 5-0, with members Katrina Young and Brad Smith not present.

This means the school system will collect $2,621,000 or 4.6 percent less than last year, according to RCPS Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis, since the overall value of taxable property has gone down. However, that drop was slightly less than originally estimated.

The school system built the current $124.8 million budget for 2012-2013 with an estimated 8 percent net digest drop but saw a 4.6 percent drop instead. 

However, that margin was eliminated by several things, Davis said. The school system was only able to collect 98.6 percent of the previous year’s taxes, or about $85,000 less than expected. Also, the state recently informed RCPS and other school systems that they would have to pay an additional month of health insurance costs up front, meaning RCPS was hit with an additional $875,000 cost at the beginning of the school year.

Local funding makes up approximately 48 percent of the school system’s funding. The other half comes from the state, as well as some from federal grants.

The rate that would have allowed the school system to collect the same amount as last year is 25.57 mills.

Rockdale County is one of the few school systems with an exemption from the statewide cap of 20 mills. Rockdale's rate been over 20 mills since 1990.

The millage rate increased in 2010 from 21 mills to 22.99 mills, and again in 2011 from 22.99 to 24.5. Before that, the the rate had gone down or stayed level from 2003 until 2010.

The Conyers city council voted Thursday to hold their millage rate the same as last year's as well, at 9.9 mills.

The county Board of Commissioners will vote on the millage rate on Sept. 4, 6 p.m., at the JP Carr Center, 981 Taylor Street, and will either set the millage rate to the same as last year's 16.91 or less.