When Beaufort County Council approved the school district's $189.6 million budget in June, only half of the work was done.
Council and the district must now establish a tax rate to arrive at that total. Council is expected to set it at a meeting Monday.
"My concern is that we have an appropriated revenue amount that the council, in June, said 'Here is what we will give to you for this year,' " superintendent Jeff Moss said Tuesday during the board's Finance Committee meeting. "But if the (tax) rate is kept where it is, it will not generate that revenue."
During its meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Education passed a resolution urging council to set a tax rate that will generate the $114.9 million in property taxes the district has budgeted for. In June, council set the rate at 101.7 mills to raise that amount.
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However, district head of operations Phyllis White said that is not enough.
Both she and county chief financial officer Alicia Holland said the tax rate should be closer to 105 mills to collect that much. That's due in part to an increase in the number of homeowners declaring Beaufort County homes as primary residences. Under South Carolina law, owner occupied homes are not charged for school operating expenses.
The council's finance committee met with district officials Monday to discuss the tax rate, but could not reach an agreement on what the number should be, Moss said.
He added that several council members seemed hesitant about raising the rate on the premise it would mean a tax increase for residents.
"We are not asking for a tax increase," he said. "What we are asking is for council to fund the budget appropriation that they approved for us in June," he said. "Even if there was 100 percent tax collection, the current rate would not generate the revenue that they approved."
The district cut $3.4 million from its proposed budget in July when council it would not give the district more revenue than it received last year. Those cuts meant hall monitors will be out of the job come October, and several vacancies around the district will remain unfilled.
Council's finance committee has scheduled another meeting Monday afternoon, before the group's full meeting, to discuss what the district's tax rate should be. Moss said he and White will make a presentation at that meeting, again asking for a tax rate increase.
Follow reporter Sarah Bowman on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.
- $3.4 million in cuts could be felt in Beaufort County classrooms, school officials say, June 29, 2014
- School board cuts budget by $3.4M -- reluctantly + survey, June 24, 2014
- County Council unsure about school budget's proposed tax hike, May 27, 2014
- School district has revenue shortfall, needs to adjust budget, March 28, 2014
- Beaufort County school board turns over unexpected $3 million windfall, September 9, 2013