Orange County Public Schools formally adopted the school district’s proposed budget and millage rate for the 2018 fiscal year.
ORANGE COUNTY – During its Sept. 12 meeting, school board members authorized the adoption of the 2018 budget intended to keep the district operating smoothly for the following fiscal year.
The $2.1 billion operating budget, which makes its revenue projections based on a 7.470 millage rate this year, includes a 3.9% increase in total operating expenditures compared to the 2017 budget.
Although it is 2.11% more than the rolled-back rate, the 7.470 total millage rate is a slight decrease from last year’s 7.811 rate. The rolled-back rate is the rate that would have generated the district the same amount of property tax revenue earned last year and is made possible by an 8% increase in property values as reported by the Orange County property appraiser.
The all-important millage rate plays a large role in the district’s annual budget process, particularly in the general fund budget.
The general fund budget, which stands at $2.1 billion this year, is the budget for the school district’s day-to-day operations, which is primarily fed by the Florida Education Finance Program, state sales taxes, local property taxes and revenue generated by the additional voted millage rate of 1.000.
According to budget documents, about 74% of the appropriations from the general fund budget is directed toward costs for instruction and instructional support.
But OCPS Chief Financial Officer Dale Kelly also said the district-paid portion of health insurance premiums for OCPS employees is projected to increase by 3.6% and the required contribution rates to the Florida Retirement System recently was increased by the state Legislature, resulting in a $3.6 million hit to the board’s budget this year.
Also included in the budget as projected expenditures are $2 million on the addition of rubberized tracks at high schools over the next four years; $102.2 million for the expansion of the digital curriculum program; $65.2 million for the purchase of land for future schools; $25.1 million for school bus replacements over the next 10 years; $22.2 million for the moving and leasing of portables; and $6.4 million on capital funding for charter schools.