School district to host public hearing on budget

Published 11:03 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — The Natchez-Adams School Board is expected to discuss the school district’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year at a hearing at 1 p.m. today. Natchez-Adams Public Relations Coordinator Steven Richardson said the district does not plan to ask for more millage from the board of supervisors.

The meeting will be in the board room of the Braden Administration Building on Homochitto Street.

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The operating budget revenue of the school district for 2017 was $40,567,016. The proposed budget for the next fiscal year projects revenue to drop to $39,664,797.

The amount of the current budget revenue that is obtained through ad valorem taxes is 32.80 percent or $13,308,734. Under the proposed budget,  34.67 percent or $13,751,564 will be financed by ad valorem taxes.

An ad valorem tax is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. Ad valorem taxes are paid on houses, automobile tags, business fixtures and other properties.

The district currently receives 53.05 mills from the county’s ad valorem taxes. School districts are limited to 55 mills unless higher amounts are approved by voters in a special election.

Decreased funding from the state’s Mississippi Adequate Education Program significantly affected the budget numbers that will be presented, Richardson said.

MAEP is the formula used by the Legislature to determine how much each district should receive to provide an adequate education for its students. The program has been fully funded twice since MAEP was passed in 1997.

“Fortunately for our children … we always try to maintain instructional areas,” Richardson said.

Richardson said that other areas, such as office supplies and administrative costs, would be considered as potential areas to be cut.

The proposal also includes a slight increase in pay for maintenance and custodial staff.

A copy of the budget that will be presented at today’s meeting was not available Wednesday. Richardson said the district was still finalizing numbers, but that a copy of the budget will be made available at the meeting.

Today’s meeting is open to the public, and citizens will be allowed to speak for a reasonable amount of time and offer their opinions and advice, Richardson said.

“We’re hoping that a lot of people come out because without the people we wouldn’t be able to operate as well as we do,” he said.