In November, Florida voters passed the Millage Tax bill.

This bill increases property taxes for the next four years to aid Orange County Schools’s budget. Millage refers to property taxes.

OCPS is expected to have $95.1 million downfall for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year.  The property tax increase will cost the average homeowner 25 cents for every $1,000 of their assessed home value.

This increase will provide OCPS $85 million a year, which is replacing the federal and state funding that will be lost after this school year.  This will allow schools to keep programs such as art classes, athletics and other student activities that would be the first to go in the face of budget cuts.

The tax increase will also allow OCPS to keep teachers who are highly qualified, which is essential for higher quality education for students.

“Do you want an unqualified doctor? Police man? Fireman? [It is necessary] to have the best trained people to do the job,” history teacher Christopher Parrett said.

OCPS is already paying $177.5 million a year for mandates from the federal and state governments.

Florida has the second lowest administrative cost per student in the country. Administrative costs include record keeping, mailings and general management. This means OCPS spends most of their budget on only students.

The millage tax will fund the class size amendment, which costs OCPS about $22 million. To meet the amendment’s requirements more teachers and classrooms are needed for each school. It will also allow for schools to pay any violations committed because of this amendment.

The tax will cost the average homeowner (valued at $150,000 with a homestead exemption of $25,000) $10.42 monthly. OCPS is using the millage tax to its full potential to stabilize the funding that has been lost in previous years.

“It will gives us a better basis for the county budget; [OCPS] relies on federal and state funding which is neglected and depleting. We have to find a stable resource,” Parrett said.

By admin

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