NASD approves $11M tax funding

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 10, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School District Board of Trustees approved Thursday a resolution for an increase in ad valorem tax funding of $565,000, which will be given to the Adams County Board of Supervisors to be converted into a millage.

The funding was included in the district’s $39,822,109 budget for the next fiscal year that was adopted in July, but the resolution had to be approved and sent to the Board of Supervisors before Aug. 15.

The increase in funding will be generated by taxes on homes, automobile tags, business equipment and rental property.

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While the adopted budget did include an increase in the amount of local taxes the schools would get, the overall budget, which includes federal and state tax dollars, is $2 million less than last year’s budget.

According to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program — a Mississippi Department of Education program that calculates how much state funding local districts should receive — the state under-funded NASD by $1.9 million for the fiscal year 2012-2013, the NASD budget report says. That’s the most the state has underfunded the district in eight years.

In the previous fiscal year’s budget, 26.55 percent, or $11,121,570, was paid for with local ad valorem taxes.

For this fiscal year, the district proposes that 29.3 percent, or $11,686,653, would be paid for with local taxes.

NASD Business Manager Margaret Parson said she would deliver the approved resolution to the board of supervisors today and, after a total property assessment is complete, the dollar figure would be turned into a millage.

In other news from the meeting:

• Parents with students not on free or reduced price school meals will need to send their children to school with an extra 10 cents every day this school year.

The Mississippi State Department of Education requires school food authorities ensure sufficient funds are provided to the nonprofit school food service account for lunches served to students not eligible for free or reduced price meals.

Increasing the average paid lunch price is a way to balance out the difference between the free and paid federal reimbursement rates and the average paid lunch price, a letter from the department of education said.

The board voted to allow the Child Nutrition Department to increase the student-paid lunch from $1.75 to $1.85.

Approximately 91 percent of NASD students receive free or reduced meals.

While the approval was required by the state, school board secretary Thelma Newsome asked why the issue had to be handled so close to the start of the school year.

“If I’m a parent getting ready to send my kids to school and I find out I’m going to be paying 10 cents extra for lunches, that’s an extra expense,” Newsome said. “Why are they sending this so late?”

•The board approved to spend $12,260 to disassemble, haul and reassemble a large mobile unit to house additional students attending West Elementary School.

The four-unit mobile building was donated to NASD by Natchez Regional Medical Center via the Board of Supervisors. It formerly belonged to Dr. Carl Passman’s office.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved, because they really pushed this through,” board vice-president board member Tim Blalock said. “We needed it, and they made it happen.”

The unit was needed because of the school district reorganization approved by the board earlier this year.

That reorganization will include three residentially-zoned schools for kindergarten through fifth grades at West Elementary, Frazier Elementary and McLaurin Elementary and a middle school at Morgantown Middle School for the sixth through eighth grades.

Board President Wayne Barnett said the donation was much appreciated by the entire NASD.

“If we wouldn’t have received that donation, we would have had to purchase our own mobile unit or do some construction,” Barnett said after the meeting.

•Superintendent Frederick Hill gave the board an update to the administrative salary scale, which he was asked to begin studying in June.

The board voted, in June, to adopt the administrative support personnel salary schedule with an instruction for the superintendent to come back to the board with a report on personnel placement and job descriptions to clarify the duties of administrative assistants.

“I’ve been trying to pin down the origins of many salaries, and it’s a lot of work, because there are quite a few salaries that we can’t find any origins of how they were approved,” Hill said. “So I will continue to work and hope to bring an actual report to you at the next board meeting on the administrative salary scale.

“It’s a lot of work to be done on backtracking where they are now and how they got there.”

Like last year’s schedule, most administrative salaries are calculated based on a schedule for the teachers in the school where the administrators work. Money for the additional number of paid days is added to the teacher schedule, plus an increase of 8 to 16 percent, depending on the administrator’s level of responsibilities.