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July 24--  The fiscal year 2014 budget for the Montgomery County school system is $140,000 less than FY2013, however, school officials say they still have to increase the property tax rate.  Expected expenditures total $7.2 million.

{mosimage}"We are not increasing taxes.  The amount of taxes we projected to receive in 2012 was $2,253,000 and we're projecting the same amount in 2013.  Because of the revaluation of our tax digest, it will take an increase of about 1.4 mils to generate the same amount of money," says County School Superintendent Randy Rodgers.

Rodgers says the Montgomery County tax digest has gone down about 14 percent.

The school board will hold public hearings before the final vote on the property tax millage rate.

Rodgers says the school system is saving money by having fewer days of school but longer school days.

"We'll be able to provide the same amount of instruction in the 163 days on the extended day system and the economy in that situation comes from savings in energy and savings in support staff," says Rodgers.

The budget also includes more money for teachers in fiscal year 2014.

"Last year our teachers were paid for 181 days and this year they'll be paid for 185 days," Rodgers reports.

In addition to approving the school system budget, the school board also accepted a federal program that will provide free meals for all students in the county's elementary and middle school.  It was not accepted for the county high school which has an insufficient percentage of low income students to qualify.