Ronald White

Ronald White

LIVE OAK — The Suwannee County School Board approved its final millage rate and budget for the 2019-20 year at a short meeting last week.

The public hearing Thursday lasted less than five minutes with the millage rate of 6.156 being approved unanimously and the $66.35 million budget being approved by a 4-1 vote with Ronald White dissenting.

White said he voted against the budget because he felt like the district should be putting more money back into its reserves.

“I don’t think there’s enough reserve left,” he said following the meeting, adding there is less in reserves now than when he joined the school board five years ago.

“When we did our proposed budget, I brought that up and said, ‘Look, I don’t think this is where we need to be. We need to have more reserve than what we have.’

“This is the only stance I have is my vote. I’m going to stand on my vote.”

White also voted against the budget at the board’s tentative hearing July 29.

As a businessman, White said he prefers to have those reserves as a cushion in case of an emergency so the district could make those purchases without financing them.

He said the rest of the board members are well aware of his position on the matter, adding he doesn’t believe there is enough money being spent in the classrooms.

“It’s just the overall budget, I just don’t agree with it because I think we can do better than what we’re doing,” he said.

The board was unanimous in approving its millage rate, the rate that determines that tax revenue brought in.

That rate of 6.156 is 1.52 percent higher than the rollback rate, or the tax rate that will provide the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year’s rate.

It is also a slight decrease from the current millage rate of 6.167 mills. That decrease comes from the Required Local Effort, which is set by the state, decreasing 0.011 mills to 3.908.

The board kept the Discretionary Operating Millage rate at 0.748 mills and the Capital Outlay rate at 1.5 mills.

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