Budget hearing for Bay-Wave Schools

The Bay-Waveland School District will hold a public hearing Monday on its upcoming $13.7 million budget, which is expected to call for a property tax increase.
The hearing will be held at 5 p.m. Monday in the school board meeting room at the district complex, 201 Carroll Ave., Bay St. Louis. The board room is located off the Ulman Avenue side of the complex behind Second Street Elementary School.
Although the school district’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 is less than 2010 spending levels, the amount of taxes the district estimates it needs likely will rise.
For the upcoming school year, the district is projecting revenues of $13.77 million. Of the total, 57 percent, or $7.83 million, will come from property taxes, or ad valorem tax.
Of the district’s current $14.90 million budget, 49 percent now comes through ad valorem tax income.
Officials said the new budget was constructed to include a tax hike of about three mills. County Tax Assessor-Collector Jimmie Ladner, Jr. said a three-mill increase represents an annual tax increase of $30 for the owner of a home assessed at $100,000.
The school district has been hard hit by state cuts to education, having already lost anticipated revenues this fiscal year.
In addition, the 1,700-student district lost enrollment after Hurricane Katrina, adding to revenue losses from the state.
Costs of insurance and utilities also have risen by nearly $1.4 million, School Superintendent Rebecca Ladner said.
The school district has made various spending cuts in anticipation of continuing losses.
Those have included reducing work schedules, not replacing employees retiring or leaving after the current school year, freezing salaries, announcing a hiring freeze, reducing spending on technology and books, and reducing the local supplement paid to teachers.

BY: J.R. Welsh

The Sea Coast Echo

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