21.5 Mill increase for District One

School district officials say they’re not the blame for the millage increase.

According to District One Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Schwarting, a recent recalculation in the district’s debt service millage rate that has “been incorrect for many years” will mean an 11 mill increase in the district’s debt service payments.

Last year the district’s general operating millage was 223.9 mills. With the 10.5 mill increase that number will increase to 234.4 mills. The district’s debt service, 44 mills last year, will increase by 11 mills to 55 mills this year, bringing the total increase to 21.5 mills.

“We just need to make sure that we state publicly, we haven’t raised anything, it’s been an error at the courthouse that has been occurring for years,” Board Chairman Dr. Padgett said. “The statement made to me is that you closed the school, now taxes are going up, this needs to be explained not only to the board, but to the public…what has happened, this isn’t something that we’ve done,” Padgett said.

According to district officials a mill in Bamberg School District One is approximately, $16,799.

“There are some problems, there have been some problems at the courthouse, and I hope they will be remedied soon,” Schwarting told board members. “The debt service millage has been incorrect for many years.”

As an example Schwarting stated that “when the $1.2 million in bonds were issued for the athletic field house, the debt service millage continued to go down, rather than to rise.”

She stated that when a $200,000 bond was issued this month, county officials figured out what the correct millage (55 mills) would be necessary to pay the bond appropriately.

The 11 mill increase in debt service will affect 4 percent owner-occupied legal resident property, 6 percent property which is 2nd homes, commercial and rental property, 10.5 percent property which is manufacturing and 4 percent agricultural farm land property.

The 10.5 mill increase in the school’s operating millage will affect everyone’s property in District One except owner occupied legal residences.

In other business:

BEMS Principal Troy Phillips gave an update on the school’s Renewal Plans, stating the school was still under the watchful eye of the State Department of Education, but is making progress in raising the school’s performance index, and in doing so show improvement from the unsatisfactory rating of two years ago and remove the school from the state’s needing improvement list.

Superintendent Schwarting reported; the school district’s SAT scores were down 20 points this year. Part of the reason she said was of the 56-59 students taking the test a number didn’t take the necessary college prep classes to be successful.

BEMS art teacher Teresa Alsing was recognized for writing a $1,000 grant to be used as a mobile student art gallery.

The board gave approval for BEHS teacher Stephanie Roach to take a group of students on an educational field trip to Paris France during spring break.

The board gave approval for band director Michael Miller and a group of band students to attend the Bands of America contest in Atlanta in October.

Board members selected Rita Sease to serve as a delegate to the SCSBA meeting in Hilton Head on December 6, and selected Tony Duncan to serve as alternate.

Superintendent Schwarting gave an update on the new “PASS” test that will replace the PACT test this year.