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Erin Franklin

Superintendent Grant Rivera’s proposal to keep the Marietta City School District’s tax rate steady will result in a tax increase of 3.18%, according to announcement from the district.

A vote to adopt the tax rate is expected to take place at a school board meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The district’s $105 million fiscal 2020 budget, which was approved in June, is $4.6 million, or 4.6%, more than last year’s, according to Erin Franklin, the district’s chief financial officer.

The district’s choice not to roll back the millage rate means the district will take in an additional $2.1 million, or 4.2%, in property tax revenue in its fiscal 2020 budget, Franklin said. She said money from the state’s Quality Basic Education formula makes up the rest of the $4.6 million budget increase over last fiscal year.

The increased revenue sent to the school district is partly a result of Marietta’s growing tax digest. New construction and rising values of existing homes and businesses allow the district to collect more money while maintaining the current property tax rate.

Franklin said the approved fiscal 2020 budget includes tax revenues from 5.19% growth in the overall 2019 tax digest over the previous year. The budget also assumed a millage rate of 17.97 mills, the same millage rate as last year, she said.

The Cobb County School District is also proposing a 4.88% tax increase as a result of its decision not to rollback its 18.9 millage rate. The Cobb school board will vote to adopt its millage rate on Thursday.

When the district’s tax digest is prepared, Georgia law requires the computation of a “rollback” millage rate, or the tax rate the district would have to levy in order to collect the same amount of revenue as it did the previous year.

Because the Marietta school district’s proposed general fund millage of 17.97 is higher than the rollback rate of 17.416, state law requires the school board to advertise the budget as a tax increase as well as hold three hearings to allow the public a chance to weigh in on the issue.

The school board met at 6 p.m. on July 9 for the first of those hearings.

Franklin said sustaining the millage rate, which will result in higher property taxes for properties within the school district’s digest, is necessary to keep up with increasing costs, including staff raises.

“We need the additional funds to support the district. We have employee raises (and) we have increased costs overall. The majority of it is raises, but we have increased costs in all aspects,” she said.

Two more hearings on the millage rate are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at the school board’s meeting room at 250 Howard St., Marietta. The board is expected to adopt the millage rate at its 6 p.m. meeting that evening.

The school board will also consider the $1.5 million purchase of 410 75-inch “interactive display panels” for installation at Dunleith, Park Street, West Side, Hickory Hills, Lockheed and Sawyer Road elementary schools, as well as Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, Marietta Middle School and Marietta Performance Learning Center, according to the board agenda item.

Installation of the panels is expected to begin in September and last for about two years. Installations have already been completed at Burruss Elementary School and Marietta High School.

In other business, the board will hear:

♦ A proposal for new earth systems, statistical reasoning, IB math, peer leadership, transition to high school, dramatic writing, orchestra, dance composition, video production and recreational games course offerings for the 2020 school year;

♦ A proposal to hire three retired teachers, each with a $25,000 contract, to provide tutoring services at facilities including the Marietta Student Life Center;

♦ Updates to the College and Career Academy construction, Northcutt Stadium turf installation and Park Street Elementary School replacement projects;

♦ A proposal for allocation of $42,987.24 additional money from a special 1% sales tax for education for the grading portion of the West Side Elementary School playground construction project; and

♦ A proposal for Breaux & Associates, LLC to head planning and design for the Lemon Street central office and museum campus project.

Follow Thomas Hartwell on Twitter at twitter.com/MDJThomas

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