Vicksburg Warren School District Board discusses request for increase in millage rate

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Vicksburg-Warren School District held its budget hearing for the 2023 fiscal year last Thursday.

The meeting, which was open to the public, included a presentation by Cassandra Lewis, Director of Financial Services for VWSD.

One of the items presented was a request to change the district-wide payscale. The proposal would increase the salaries of licensed personnel by $4,500 and of non-licensed and hourly personnel by $2,000. According to Lewis, the total increase including fringe benefits would cost approximately $900,200.

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The request for a salary increase was made in conjunction with a request to increase the millage rate for the local Ad Valorem taxes that fund the school district.

Ad Valorem taxes are paid on homes, automobile tags, business fixtures and equipment, and rental property. The millage rate is the amount of tax on every $1,000 of taxable property value.

VWSD estimates the increase would raise the millage rate by 28 cents per $1,000 of taxed property. This 0.28 increase would raise the total from 66.39 to 66.67 mills.

Lewis said that the VWSD is not directly requesting a millage rate change.

“The district requests a specific dollar amount for support and does not set millage,” she said. “The information about millage is provided only as a clarification of the district’s estimated effect on taxes.”

Currently, about 26 percent of the revenue for the VWSD’s budget is locally sourced. Most of that is from Ad Valorem taxes. State funding accounts for 29 percent and federal funding accounts for 40 percent. The proposed budget puts the total annual revenue of the school district at about $126 million.

According to Lewis, the modifications or corrections to the request may be made by the school board and on information from the public hearing. A final budget review meeting with Superintendent Chad Shealy will then be conducted and the final request will be up for approval by the school board. If the board adopts the Ad Valorem Resolution at the July board meeting, it will be sent to the Warren County Board of Supervisors for approval.

Other items listed on the proposed budget include:

  • Gym floor repairs for Bowmar Elementary at $76,000
  • Hinds Community College fees for high schoolers in the district taking college courses at $582,600.
  • 12 new positions, including eight School Resource Officers for security. The SRO positions are paid for by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Three new school buses (yearly fleet purchases are funded by the state)
  • A two-phase plan to strengthen technological infrastructure; phase one is estimated at $600,000.