(Forsyth County, GA) The Forsyth County Board of Education decided to move forward with the county’s legislators to find possible solutions for lowering tax rates.
The decision was made during the BOE’s work session on Tuesday, August 10.
Superintendent of Education Dr. Jeff Bearden said the recently passed $585 million budget had a “significant” impact on the residents.
The Board’s property tax impact was nearly 16 percent.
The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $400,000 is approximately $375.25, and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $350,000 is approximately $332.50, according to a Forsyth County Schools press release.
“I do believe the budget was best for the school system,” Bearden said.
One of the issues the school system faced was the amount of CARES funding for COVID relief other systems received. Forsyth received $20 million because the funds were based on Title 1 enrollment, compared to DeKalb County Schools that received nearly $500 million in 2021.
“We did not receive the millions and millions in funding they did. They used the funds to increase salaries across the board,” Bearden said.
Instead, Forsyth County had to use funds from reassessed properties to make up the difference in salaries.
“We are very competitive now. We’re not the highest or the lowest,” Bearden said.
Bearden suggested the Board’s governance committee meet with the County’s legislators to look at possible solutions for taxpayers.
Bearden said he would reach out and probably schedule meetings post-Labor Day.
The reaction to the announcement was swift.
Mike Valdes, who is running for the District 5 school board post, extolled the announcement on his Facebook page.
"Friends, I'm pleased to inform you that after months of tireless lobbying, town halls and many meetings and conversations with our citizens, elected and school officials, our grassroots efforts have paid off!” Valdes wrote.
He applauded the board for taking the first step in tax relief.
“While others are driven by the out-of-touch party politics Americans are tired of and fixated on spreading lies & dividing our community, I will continue to focus on issues that actually matter,” the statement continues. “…issues that deliver real results for Forsyth County students, teachers, and taxpayers. Issues that improve quality of life and student outcomes.”
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