a woman in a yellow dress writing on a blackboard

Monroe County school board members will vote on a final 2022-23 budget that includes $19 million more in revenue. That’s due to the overall assessed property values increasing by 32.52% in Monroe County for the 2022 tax year.

Beverly Anders, director of finance, told school board members at an Aug. 30 meeting at Coral Shores High School that the proposed millage rate is 2.962. A majority of the school district’s revenue — $111 million — comes from property taxpayers, while the state provides roughly 10% of school funding, or $16.8 million. 

General fund expenditures, which provide money for school operations, are around $136 million. Anders said the final budget will throw additional funding to the fund balance to bring the total to $12.2 million.

“I think this is important because we all know this is not a sustainable property value increase that we can maintain,” Anders said. “We’ll try not to institute recurring expenses.”

Roughly $88 million is budgeted for capital projects, including $60 million for facilities acquisition and construction. Debt service is budgeted at $20 million, while food service is set at $6.9 million. Between operating expenses and other accounts, the school district’s total spending for the school year is $288.65 million. 

Homesteaded properties will see a nearly 7% decrease, or roughly $100, on their tax bills. A “Save Our Homes” amendment limits the maximum increase in valuation to 3% for homesteaded properties. Non-homesteaded properties will get a $12.90 decrease. 

While chairman John Dick was pleased with a millage rate reduction, he took issue with more revenue and no teacher salary raises proposed. 

“I’m still extremely unhappy with all the funding we have here that we have not been able to drastically increase salaries of everyone who works with the school district,” he said. “I’m not sure where it’s gone, but that part has bothered me. We say we want to get more money, and when we get it we don’t give it to them.” 

In response, Anders said more money to the fund balance could allow the district to negotiate with the teacher’s union for an increase next year. 

A final budget hearing will commence on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 5:05 p.m. at Marathon High School. School board members will then approve a final millage and a final budget.

Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy is one of the many who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures in Western New York. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 5-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club. When he's not working, he's busy chasing his son, Lucas, around the house and enjoying time with family.