A post on social media showing a public notice by the Vicksburg Warren County School District that appears to show an increase in school taxes has some people up in arms.
The notice indicates the budget for the upcoming fiscal year will increase by close to $35 million. The wording of the notice goes on to make it appear that increase will be funded by an increase in your taxes. However, that isn’t the case according to Christi Kilroy with the district, “We’ve requested level funding for the upcoming year. The increased amount will come from several sources but mostly ESSER funds.” Kilroy went on to clarify that if the school district was requesting almost level funding and the request for 2022 was actually $74,000 less than 2021.
The $35 million in extra money in the budget will come from ESSER Funds, a part of the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and the CARES Act that was passed by Congress on March 20, 2021.
ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds are monies intended to assist the district to recover from COVID-19 and its negative impact on learning. The money from this fund will help students catch back up or at least recover and will help with numerous other things including technology needs.
While the overall school budget shows a dramatic increase the impact on local school taxes will be negligible. Warren County Supervisor Kelle Barfield explained the process “The school board approves a budget and submits it to the county. The county will approve the setting of taxes that will be required to support a budget approved by the school board. Their request does not increase ad Valorem taxes.”
The school board will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 17 to discuss the 2022 budget. It is a public meeting but seating is limited. A live stream of the meeting will be presented on their Facebook page or can be seen on their website.