Richmond school board, lawmakers talk money issues

Richmond County school board members are meeting with area delegation members this morning to discuss funding priorities for the coming year in the midst of more potential deficits.

A main topic so far has been a proposal from Superintendent Dana Bedden to consider readdressing the school tax exemption for those age 65 and older. The proposal to delegation members this morning is that those currently receiving the exemption be grandfathered in, but that going forward anyone else that age could pay school taxes based on certain factors, possibly to include the value of their home.

School Board attorney Pete Fletcher said any such move would require a referendum even if it received the area delegation's suport.

Rep. Quincy Murphy has said today that he would like the idea of grandfathering in those currently receiving the exemption, but that more homework is needed on the issue.

All total, Dr. Bedden said county officials have told him such exemptions represent about $7 million.

Board member Frank Dolan, though, cautioned this morning that tackling such a topic would be "a gigantic firestorm."

Board members agreed to refer the issue to their financial committee to further research the idea and formulate a proposal to the full board by the end of the year.

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