During Monday night’s work session and meeting, the Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) Board of Education (BOE) voted to maintain the current millage rate at 20 mills for the 2022 fiscal year.
Millage is based on every $1,000 of property value. Therefore even though the millage rate remains flat, the taxes will go up proportional to the amount property value rises.
Clayton County’s millage rate is higher than only two of the six counties in the Atlanta metropolitan region. However, CCPS Chief Financial Officer Emma Benton pointed out that the amount of revenue collected from the taxes is significantly lower.
“It’s $165 million, compared to some of our metropolitan districts, in terms of the amount of money that they collect from local taxes,” Benton said.
The next lowest amount is Cobb County who is just over $600 million. District 1 board member Jasmine Bowles asked about equalization grants that some states offer for school districts that collect less money from tax revenue.
“Currently the state of Georgia does have an equalization grant, and Clayton County, of course, receives an equalization,” Benton said. “Our grant for the ‘22 budget, I want to say it may be about 65 million, which is an increase from our current year of about 7 million.”
Benton continued that while CCPS is grateful for the state’s equalization program it still doesn’t make up the difference between CCPS and other districts in Atlanta metro.
District 9 board member Benjamin Straker asked, and Benton confirmed that the disparities are in part due to Clayton County having a much smaller business income tax base. Benton also noted that Clayton has a much lower population than the other counties in Atlanta Metro.
“And when you think about the fact that we have the airport sitting right here in Clayton County and we don’t get a penny off of it,” said Jessie Goree, District 3 representative and chairwoman of the BOE “I think what we should be going after is that revenue.”
In the coming years if CCPS wants to raise the millage rate, there will have to be a local referendum because the State of Georgia caps the millage rate for school systems at 20 mills.