The Walton County Board of Education is set to approve a tentative budget on Tuesday representing a major increase over last year.
The board discussed the final draft of a $124.6 million budget plan at its monthly work session as Walton County School District Finance Director Harry Lee presented a budget that increased more than $8 million since last year.
Lee said the increase was due primarily to increasing costs from the state, particularly for employee health insurance.
“State health insurance is going up,” Lee said. “It’s the same reason the budget went up last year and we know it will increase next year again.”
Lee’s budget proposal of $124.6 million is up from $116 million last year, an increase the budget hopes to cover with a bump in the tax digest and some additional monies from the system’s fund balance.
“We are using $589,000 from fund balance,” Lee said.
The rest will be covered through tax revenue. Although the school board expects to see a decrease in the millage rate — which is still under discussion until the final tax digest is prepared next month — the planned drop in the mill will still be above the rollback rate, resulting in a tax increase over last year’s millage rate.
The board plans to vote on the tentative budget Tuesday, with a second vote on the budget at the July board meeting for final approval. The board will also approve a spending resolution Tuesday to continue normal financial operation until final approval of the budget for the 2018-19 school year.
In other board news, the system has received two applications for the vacant District 6 seat previously held by Gwen Cantrell, who resigned her position earlier in the year upon moving out of the district. Board members are currently seeking to schedule a special called meeting to interview both prospective candidates and vote in the new member, but no time or date has been set as of yet.