Students begin their 2011-12 school year on Thursday. The school system continues to grow with two new schools coming on line including for the 2011-12 year, and a new elementary school will open in 2012-13. During July the Board of Education recently adjusted the millage rate and also made several job appointments.
The BOE amended the previously adopted FY2012 budget in a Special Called Meeting on July 13 and will lower the tax millage rate as well as reduce the number of employee furlough days.
Based on the new tax digest numbers, the Board of Education was able to reduce the number of furlough days across the board for all 190-day-and-over employees to three days.
"A reduction in the millage rates and a reduction to three furlough days will be possible since the Douglas County Tax Digest declined 3.88 percent instead of the seven percent originally anticipated by the Tax Commission Office," said Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. "We are very happy to see a much smaller decline this year than the 7 percent anticipated or the 15 percent decline last year."
Millage rates for the School System were adjusted as follows: Maintenance and Operations (M&O) goes from 20 to 19.85 mills and the Bond Millage goes from 4.1 to 3.1 mills. The total school system millage rate will be 22.95 instead of the originally projected 24.1 mills.
"Providing tax relief for Douglas County property owners as well as eliminating some of the furlough days for our employees is very important. While the smaller decline in the tax digest this year is very helpful we must keep in mind that there has been an overall decline in most revenue sources during the last few years that have deeply impacted us. The school system must continue to be very diligent regarding all expenditures," Dr. Pritz said.
Student enrollment in the school district is approximately 24,500 students. There are 20 elementary schools (kindergarten through fifth grade), eight middle schools (grades six through eight) and four high schools (grades nine through twelve).
The BOE also named several school officials during July for the new school year.
Monte Beaver was named Area Director in the Student Achievement and Leadership Department in the Central Office effective July 1. He is currently Principal of , a position he has held since 2005.
Jeffrey Henderson was named Assistant Principal of Lithia Springs High School effective July 1. Henderson has been a Graduation Coach at since 2007 and taught at the school from 2002-2007.
Sean Roach was named by the Douglas County Board of Education to be Assistant Principal of . He has been Assistant Principal at since 2009 and previously served as Assistant Principal at , 2006 to 2009.
Robert Blevins was named to be Principal of effective July 18. He has been Assistant Principal at Chapel Hill Elementary since 2003 and taught fourth and fifth grade at from 1988-2003.
Dr. Larry Moore was named to be an Assistant Principal at New Manchester High School. He previously served as a Principal at Dublin Middle School, 2008-2010, and Americus Sumter High School, 2006-2008. Moore was Assistant Principal at East Coweta High School, 2002-2006, and Smokey Road Middle School, 1998-2002. He has taught in Wilkinson, Coweta, and Floyd Counties.
Voters will be given an opportunity to renew the education SPLOST, or E-SPLOST, in November. The third and current E-SPLOST will run through December.
The E-SPLOST is not a new tax, but rather an extension of the existing SPLOST for another five years, beginning on January 1, 2012, if voters were to approve it, Pritz told City of Douglasville Communications Director Kellie Hunter in an interview earlier this year.
Pritz said that guidelines for uses of E-SPLOST funding allow for construction and/or renovation, resources such as technology, and allows for payment of Bond Indebtedness incurred with past construction projects, which actually then provides voters with a reduction in the millage rate, he said.