At its May 16, 2019 meeting, the Gwinnett County Board of Education (BOE) adopted its Fiscal Year 2020 Budget and tentatively adopted a millage rate to support the budget. During the budget-setting process, the Board indicated that the adopted budget would not require an increase in the millage rate. In light of projected growth in the property tax digest, the Gwinnett BOE actually will propose a slight decrease in the millage rate, resulting in a maintenance and operations (M&O) and debt-service millage rate of 19.70 and 1.90, respectively. This is down from last year’s rates of 19.80 and 1.95, respectively. (Funds generated by the M&O millage pay for the day-to-day operations of the school system, including employee salaries, instructional materials, student transportation, and school utility costs. The debt-service millage is used to pay down the School Board’s long-term debt from bond referenda passed over the years to pay for school construction.)
Although the proposed millage rate is being lowered, the district must advertise it as a property tax increase. By state law, local taxing authorities, such as the Board of Education, must either keep their tax collections revenue-neutral (by decreasing the millage rate to offset the gained taxes from property value updates) due to the higher value of property in the county or announce a tax increase (even though the actual millage rate isn’t increasing). Taxpayers whose property has not been assigned a higher value through reassessments this year will not see an increase in their school taxes.
As required by law, the Gwinnett County Board of Education will hold three public hearings as part of its process for setting the millage. The first will be held on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center (ISC), located at 437 Old Peachtree Road NW in Suwanee. The second will be at 11:45 a.m. on July 9, and the third at 6:00 p.m. on July 9, both occurring in the Board Room at the ISC.
The school system’s FY2020 budget, which is funded primarily from local property taxes and state funding, provides resources— both financial and human— to help the school system accommodate its growing student population and to support the district’s core business of teaching and learning. GCPS’ enrollment is expected to grow by approximately 400 students, bringing the total projected enrollment for next school year to more than 180,200. GCPS’ focus on teaching and learning is evident in its budget, with 71% of the General Fund budget targeted for instructional services.
A copy of the adopted budget is available for public review on the school system’s website at www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us or through the school system’s Department of Budgets and Financial Reporting. For information, call 678-301-6210.