CONYERS – Rockdale County property owners should not see an increase in the school system portion of their property tax bill after the Board of Education voted to reduce the fiscal year 2022 millage rate.

According to the school system, the school board reduced the millage rate by 1.883 mills and adopted a rollback millage rate of 22.717, the lowest rate in more than 10 years. By adopting the rollback rate, the school system will collect the same amount in local property taxes overall as last year, even though property values have increased.

Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts recommended that the board adopt the rollback rate at its July 15 meeting.

“As part of our commitment to good financial stewardship for the taxpayers of Rockdale County, we are proud to announce the lowest millage rate in over a decade,” said Board of Education Chairwoman Mandy North. “The board has either maintained or lowered the millage rate over the last eight years while providing world-class educational opportunities for the families of Rockdale County.”

Remaining a debt-free school system and the community’s continued support through two decades of the E- SPLOST penny sales tax for education are further evidence of the school system’s tradition of fiscal responsibility and leadership, she added.

“Sound financial accounting and management coupled with ongoing collaboration between the Office of Superintendent, Financial Services, and our district’s departments and school leaders, under the responsible oversight of our Board of Education, made adoption of the rollback millage rate a reality,” said RCPS Chief Financial Officer Keith Hull.

“It is a testament to the fiscal leadership and hard work of our team under the focused fiscal oversight of our Board of Education that we are able to lower the tax rate for the citizens of Rockdale County while crafting a budget that is both responsible and responsive,” said Terry Oatts. “The collective fiscal leadership that is required to significantly increase our fund balance, decrease property taxes, complete an ambitious capital program involving two major construction projects amid a pandemic, and afford our teachers and support personnel a regionally competitive salary all the while remaining debt-free with E-SPLOST collections at or above projections is nothing short of amazing if not world-class.”

In June, the Rockdale County Board of Education adopted a budget of approximately $171 million for fiscal year, with about 70% going towards instruction and student support. Maintenance, operations and transportation make up 10.6% of the budget while general administration and school administration make up 9.4%. About 59.5% of the school system’s revenues come from state funding and about 40.3% come from local funding sources.

The budget includes a step increase for all employees and a salary increase for teachers and those paid on the teacher certification salary schedule. Employees will see an average 4 to 10.9% pay increase. The teacher pay increase came as a result of a comprehensive salary study that Oatts directed RCPS Human Resources to undertake shortly after he became superintendent in 2018. The revised teacher pay scale incorporates a more competitive entry annual rate and uniform longevity increase. During Oatts’ tenure, the fund balance has grown by approximately $20 million, enabling RCPS to be in a strong financial position to support increasing teacher salaries while lowering the millage rate.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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