Bay District School Board votes to lower millage rate

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The Bay District School Board voted to lower its millage rate Tuesday.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay District School Board members will not raise the rate property owners pay in taxes this year.

In fact, many will see a drop.

The board approved a tentative budget that lowers the millage rate, while allowing some flexibility to negotiate higher salaries for teachers and district support staff. The new millage rate will be 5.52 mills down from 5.84 and will mean that most property owners will see a decrease on their tax bill between $6 and $24.

But despite additional state funding and some local leeway in property tax revenue, the district will fall short of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ goal of providing new teachers with a starting salary of $47,500 a year. School Board Chairman Steve Moss and others said that the state tightly controls what the board can do with its money.

“Not only have they provided some funding they have somewhat tied your hands to any other funding in an effort to raise that beginning salary or minimum salary to $47,500,” said Jim Lloyd, the chief financial officer for the District.

Earlier this year District leaders asked voters to approve a new property tax increase to meet salary goals but voters rejected the increase.

District officials are negotiating contracts with teachers and support workers and they say they’re having a tough time filling dozens of vacancies. Currently, a starting teacher makes $43,521 a year. A bus driver makes $12.23 an hour.

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