School Board passes budget for 2024

Chair Tina Certain (middle at an August meeting) and the School Board passed the 2023-24 budget on Monday.
Chair Tina Certain (middle, at an August meeting) and the School Board passed the 2023-24 budget on Monday.
Photo by Glory Reitz

The School Board of Alachua County (SBAC) unanimously approved its final budget and millage rate for fiscal year 2023-24 in a public hearing on Monday. 

The 6.432 millage rate is lower than last year’s 6.498 rate, but it is almost 8% higher than the rollback rate, which would produce as much revenue as last year’s millage did. 

A millage rate is calculated as $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in home value. For example, someone with a house with a $200,000 assessed value would pay $1,137.15, an increase of about $27 from what the payment would have been under last year’s rate. 

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Board Chair Tina Certain pointed out in the meeting that, unlike the city and county, the school board does not set its own millage rate. School district millage rates are set by the state legislature. 

The Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) 2023-24 budget, newly approved by the school board, is $599, 653,242.99, about $4.5 million lower than the $604,204,986.31 tentative budget approved in August. 

Chief of Finance Keith Birkett explained that the change came from several re-shuffling of funds. About $3.9 million of categorical funds moved into the general fund. Another $3.5 million in revenue had to be incorporated into the budget after it had already passed the initial approval stage. 

Staff added another $4.2 million to the budget when introducing a new practice of including internal accounts in the budget. 

The budget dropped $9 million in capital spending because the money for the capital projects had been set aside ahead of time. The payments were on the August budget originally because the invoices were coming in in June when staff was creating the budget, according to Birkett. 

The budget decreased by another $3.6 million because of estimated insurance claims the district expects. 

Certain said she would have liked to see more information about how federal funds are being incorporated into the budget, but it was too late to make changes to available information. 

Throughout this year’s budget process, the school board has asked for more information further ahead of time. Birkett said the difficulties of bringing in new staff, and one staff member’s family emergency leave, the process has been slower than usual. 

“We have to adopt this,” Certain said. “Because if we don’t, it disrupts a whole lot of things. And so, I kind of begrudgingly, as I kind of have in the past, will vote for this.” 

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