“Flat” local budget request
Before Oconee County Council, Dr. Mike Lucas, county Superintendent of Education, offered what he called a “flat” budget request—meaning it seeks no additional local tax funds for general education purposes in the next year. Bottom line figures for the budgets projected for Oconee School District: $86.8 million in both state and local source revenues; $88.6 million in expenses. That means a shortfall of $1.8 million, which Gloria Moore, district finance director, says is to be made up by a district draw from its multi-million dollar fund balance. But Dr. Michael Thorsland, assistant superintendent for operations, sought to clarify what “flat” budget request: “What we’re requesting from local taxes is the $42 (million.) But the increase in Tier 3 funding , that actually is part of what we request from county. Because of the way the state set that up in Act 388, Tier 3 funding is included in what the state calls local revenue. So, our request to you will actually be $312, 267 more than it was last year. But that change is only coming from Tier 3 funding. The amount raised here at local level from local property taxes is flat,” he said.