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School board to raise taxes

The Pike County board of education recently announced its intention to increase the property taxes it will levy this year for Maintenance and Operations (M&O) by 2.55 mills. Before the board of education can set a final millage rate, Georgia law requires that three public hearings be held to allow the public an opportunity to express their opinions on this increase.  Citizens may attend public hearings on the tax increase at 11:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31 and at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 at the school’s board room at 7454 Highway 19 south in Zebulon. For the past five years, the school’s M&O mill rates have reduced tax dollars for school operations by more than $60,000. ’This is definitely not something we wanted to do. We have used our reserves, increased class sizes and delayed maintenance. We are simply out of options. I am proud of this board. It was tough, but we are providing adequate funding for our children while minimizing the burden on our citizens as much as possible,’ said school board chairman Ryan Edge. ‘The board of education’s local tax policy was sustained in a period of severe economic recession that saw an unprecedented decrease in state educational funding. The board of education, along with the community at large, understands the value of an educationally-strong, financially-stable school system.’ He said upgrades to school buildings and campuses are ongoing and will continue in the future. ’Additionally, the Board of Education is currently engaged in a very aggressive repair and renovation program that will yield community benefits for years to come,’ he said. ‘As approved by voters in November 2015, the board issued bonds that are funding a variety of voter approved projects, including educational building renovation and stadium refurbishing.’

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