In blessing this year’s school system budget of more than $1 billion at its final public hearing, the Polk County School Board raised ad valorem taxes by almost a half a mill. The property taxes were hiked from last year’s 7.492 mills to 7.547 mills.
The tax hike was needed despite months of budgetary wrangling to bring the budget out of the red and into the black. Earlier this year when budget preparation began, the board faced an $18 million shortfall, which new Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Leroy and her staff have managed to chip away to bring the books back into balance. Even though the books are square, and have the state mandatory 3 percent contingency/emergency fund, the budget still falls short of the 5 percent the board’s own policies require.
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