Decatur BOE – Board lowers millage

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 11, 2014
The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education holds its first regular meeting in its new board room at the Beacon Municipal Center. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education holds its first regular meeting in its new board room at the Beacon Municipal Center. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated.

Decatur’s Board of Education voted to lower the tax rate during its June 10 meeting.

BOE members Julie Rhame and Bernadette Seals said that the board voted unanimously to lower the rate from 20.9 mills to 20.5 mills.

In a June 12 letter to parents, CSD notes that there will still be an overall increase in taxes.

“This is a decrease from the 2013 millage rate of 20.90 mills; however due to property reassessments, this will represent an average increase of 4.27 percent in property taxes,” the letter says.

Superintendent Phyllis Edwards had recommended reducing the millage to 20.2 mills.

Rhame and Seals said the new millage rate will cost system will be more than $500,000 in revenue.

But the upshot is Decatur’s tax digest is expected to increase by 12.75 percent, which is expected to bring in an additional $3.2 million in revenue. The system also expects to end the year with a $1.5 million surplus.

Rhame said the board felt it appropriate lower the millage rate, and said residents have been supportive of the sales taxes and other means of funding the city’s schools.

“Our taxpayers have been good to us,” Rhame said.

Also, School Board members held their first meeting in Beacon Municipal Center, the new home of the CSD central office. Seals said the board has never had its own dedicated meeting space and in the past held its meetings Renfroe Middle School. Until this month, the School Board had been holding meetings at the former Westchester Elementary School. Westchester will reopen as a K-3 school this fall.

“We love the new building,” Seals said.

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  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks Dan. Glad to read that the board enjoys their new digs. I’m sure the rest of the administrative staff feels the same way. There was a time, about ten years ago, when every central office employees was located either at the DHS central gym or at an elementary school building. Board meeting were held at the central office meeting room, the high school library or one of the elementary schools. (Sorry but now a little trip down memory lane). When I first started teaching in the system in 1976, I received a note telling me that the superintendent wanted to meet me. So one morning around 6:45, I walked over to the central gym from the high school to the superintendent’s office and found the door locked. I knocked and a woman opened the door while vacuuming the floor. “I’m here to see Dr. Simmons”, I told the maid. She told me to come back later around 7:30 when the office opened. I returned later and entered Dr. Simmons office to find that the woman I assumed was the maid was Dr. Simmons (I was later told that the building maid called in sick so Dr. Simmons picked up the slack). My admiration of Dr. Vee Simmons, who lived for many years in the Westchester community, grew from this first meeting to well beyond her retirement where she continued to volunteer to help CSD in anyway she could. She told me several times how important it was for her to be able to call every staff member by name. There were many other central office administrators who felt the same way.
    Anyway, congratulations to the board, the central office staff and their new building.

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