Columbia County school board members Regina Buccafusco, chairwoman, and Mildred Blackburn agreed at a tax digest hearing today to keep the millage at 17.09 for 2008-09. The remaining three board members were absent.
County officials expect the tax digest to increase by 7.59 percent, said Deputy Superintendent Sandra Carraway, and keeping the same millage as last year will leave the school system with a $71,000 deficit in its $176 million budget.
Fifty percent of the increase in the tax digest was attributed to growth, and reassessments accounted for 44 percent of the increase, said Dr. Carraway.
The board originally based its budget on a 6 percent increase in the tax digest, which would have left the school system with a shortfall of more than $1 million.
A second hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 a.m., and the board will set the millage at its regular meeting that night. Both meetings will be held at the Board of Education central office, 4781 Hereford Farm Road in Evans.