Columbia County Officials Talk Possible Tax Increase - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Columbia County Officials Talk Possible Tax Increase

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Columbia County, GA -

As summer approaches, two options are on the table for Columbia County Board of Education members to fill the $4.6 million deficit.

Columbia County School Board member, Mike Sleeper says, "The consensus for most of the board is that they intend to raise the tax rate one mill. That will amount to about $40 per $100,000 home."

Another option on the table presented by school board member, Mike Sleeper is to possibly furlough teachers for two work days. He says, shutting down the school system for two days would save for the $750,000 year.

Sleeper says, "People are already suffering, it would only be fair in my opinion to take two days without pay. And then, we'll do the rest of it on a tax increase.

"So there's already an influx of nearly 500 students a year. How do you think furloughing teachers would help?" we asked Sleeper. "So basically all you're looking at doing is taking two less days of school. You can't tell me we need every day of school. There are some days where they sit around and watch movies. We can't pay for everything," he answered.

Since the talk of the deficit, we took to the streets and asked Columbia County residents what they think the school board should do.

Halicine Dubose , Columbia County resident, says," My husband is a teacher, and so of course I would not want teachers to take two more furlough days. They have not had a raise in several years. So I guess I would say let's pull money out of everyone's pocket and let everyone help."

Jon Critler, Columbia County resident, says," I would certainly rather pay more taxes every year to make sure the kids have what they need for schools, versus laying teachers off. I think it's important that we support the local government. I trust them more than the state or federal government."

A millage tax increase would make up a little more than $4 million of the deficit for the 2014 school year. In the next week, it's up to the Columbia County Board of Education to vote on a plan.

Other options to make up small parts of the budget deficit include contracting out cleaning services, reducing the number teacher assistants, and increasing class sizes.

The school board will be revisiting this issue May 28th, at their scheduled board meeting. Count on WJBF News Channel 6 to bring you the latest.

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