Savannah Chatham School Board Votes to Raise Millage Rate - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Savannah Chatham School Board Votes to Raise Millage Rate

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SAVANNAH, GA -

Get ready-- if you own property in Chatham County, your taxes are going up.

Tonight-- after weeks of hearing public testimony and weighing options-- the Savannah Chatham School Board passes a millage rate increase to make up for a 16-million dollar budget deficit.

So how much more will we pay?

This was not an easy task for the Board members because they each had their own opinion on what the millage rate should be.

But without raising the millage rate, they say education and key programs will suffer.

They debated-- should they raise it by zero mills, 1or 1.5?

Then they finally settled on raising the rate by 1.25. It was the exact number that was on the table before them in the first place-- but it took more than an hour for the majority to agree.

With the new 1.25 millage rate increase, it brings the total up to 15.881 mills.

It will increase property taxes by $72 per year -- or just $6 per month -- for a home valued at $150,000.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Locakamy says this budget is a compromise and it was the most difficult budget session he's ever seen.

"There are certain board members who want this--and others who don't want that. So I had to take a deep breath and as Superintendent, I am charged with doing my best. So I gave my best to the district and we got to vote on it.

Once the millage rate was passed, the board then approved the budget for next school year.

In this version, only some district employees would get a 1% cost of living increase.

It's something that district employees haven't seen in seven years.

Realizing the need, the board voted to amend the budget, to find 1.5 million dollars so all employees could receive a raise.

As President of the Savannah Federation of Teachers, Theresa Watson says it's a big win for those in the schools every day.

"Before these board members took office, they made promises to the people, and a lot of those people are teachers who live in their district. They said they would do everything they could to make this district successful, and by allowing [the cost of living increase], it will happen. There are going to be some very happy people, and when school starts back, there will be happy to know that increase is coming soon."

This budget still has to go before the Chatham County Commission for approval. That happens this Friday, June 28th.

 

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