The Walton County School Board is looking to stop tax increases this next fiscal year. Thursday, they approved a tentative budget to present to the public.
But, not all school board members are on board with the proposal.
"We have patched, kicked to the curb, kicked the can down the road for many years, and we need to replace that old elementary building. It's just got to the point where I'm concerned about health and safety," said Davis.
Board member, Mark Davis' concerns do not fall on deaf ears. For Superintendent, Carlene Anderson, student safety is the number one priority for the board. But, she says more superficial improvement projects will have to wait.
We know in the long run it may be a little more costly, but when the budget comes back up when things are economically better, not only in our county, but our state and our nation, then instead of patching, we'll reroof.
It's the tough economy that has Anderson looking for ways to keep taxes level.
Our homeowners, our taxpayers, they have not seen a significant increase in their salaries, just like our school. Employees have not and this is not the time to increase the budget.
Thursday, the board approved a tentative budget that sets the total millage rate at 5.013 mills.
Part of that total is the capital projects rate of 0.9 mills.
Davis argued it should remain the same as last year, leaving more money for improvements. But, this subsequently raises taxes on the public. It's a move that could be problematic for voters who have agreed to a half mil referendum to give more money to teachers.
"When that half mil comes back up and people don't see that we've been conservative in not increasing their taxes, are you willing to risk your half mil," said board member, Sharon Roberts.
Anderson says a loss of this half mil referendum could be potentially detrimental.
"If we lose our half mil referendum, we will literally lose 5 million dollars out of our budget in one year. Bottom Line--we would have massive layoffs," said Anderson.
Before this budget is adopted, there will be an opportunity for you to voice your opinion on July 30th at 5:15 at the Tivoli complex in Defuniak Springs.