Polk County Board of Education - Aug. 14, 2018

School board chair Tommy Sanders looks over documents to sign provided by Superintendent Laurie Atkins following their vote to approve a millage rate for 2018, bringing it down to 16.08 mills for the year. / Kevin Myrick

Trend to lower property taxes for education back on track in 2018 after two years of same rate

The Polk County Board of Education voted to make it official: there will be no increase on how much they need to fund schools from local taxes for the year.

In a unanimous decision, they approved without comment a rate of 16.08 mills to go onto local tax bills once they are printed and sent out before the end of September.

Taxes will actually go down slightly for local property owners with their vote during the August regular session, since the millage rate set in August 2017 was at 16.15 mills. That makes it a .07 mill decrease compared to the previous year.

Polk School District’s millage rate in years prior was much higher, and over the past five years has decreased from 16.28 mills down to the cur-rent rate of 16.08, a .2 mill shift from 2013 to 2018. It remained at 16.15 during 2016 and 2017.

This year’s collections should net the district $14,340,751 from local property taxes, a decrease of $26,895 from the year prior. Collections have steadily declined from year to year during the five year tax digest submitted by administrators for approval from the board.

School board members also voted to approve the latest financial report, which put the Polk School District at year’s end in good position. After completing FY 2018, the unaudited figures showed that expenditures were only .52 percent above what was expected, but were well balanced by revenues that were 8 percent greater than what was budgeted.

It left the district with $4,669,603.83 in the general fund balance at fiscal year’s end. Those figures will still need to be checked by auditors before they become official for year-end revenue and expenditures.

Financial Director Tammy McDonald also provided the board with brief information on how SPLOST accounts are doing. Collections were more than $428,000 for the month of June, and the balance of accounts are on the rise.

The 2014 Construction account has more than $130,000 available, along with just more than $2 million in the SPLOST V account, and $16.9 million in the 2017 Construction account, and $2.5 million in the SPLOST VI account.

During their August 14 regular session, board members also gave their approval to allow for students to take part in an upcoming September field trip, and one in the distant future of next May.

Unanimous approval was given so that Future Farmers of America members from Cedartown and Rockmart High School to participate in club events being held in Covington on Sept. 6 and Sept. 7. They also gave approval for the National Junior Honors Society group from Ce-dartown Middle School to attend a trip to Washington, D.C. between May 29 and June 1 of 2019.

Superintendent Laurie Atkins said of the FFA trip that for their upcoming convention in the weeks ahead, 30 students from Rockmart High and 16 students from Cedartown High School will be participating, along with several chaperones.

Updates to the Polk County College and Career Academy bylaws, what local board training classes the school board wishes to take part in during upcoming sessions, and personnel decisions were also handled in the August regular session.

School board members will be back to business on Tuesday, Sept. 4 right after the Labor Day holiday for their work and community input session, with their regular session to follow on Sept. 11.

The school board is back in session late this afternoon at 5 p.m. for a special called session that will immediately go into executive session for a personnel matter. That meeting will begin in the board meeting room at the Polk School District central office on College Street.