Chief Financial Officer Steve Barnette updated the Paulding County School Board on the issue at its meeting last week.
The district appealed to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, which calculates each county’s tax base for the annual equalization grant given to school systems. The department recently approved Paulding’s request.
The issue came from property values in the equalized funding formula not matching the lower 2012 local tax digest, Barnette said. The formula is based on a ratio using property values and numbers of students.
The department did not take into account distressed property areas in the county, such as those with large numbers of foreclosed homes, he said.
“They lowered the equalized digest closer to the local 2012 digest,” he said.
This formula will use the local 2012 tax digest to calculate how much money the school district will receive from the state equalization grant for the fiscal year 2015.
Paulding Tax Commissioner Bill Watson took the lead in the appeals process, Barnette said.
“The tax commissioner stood up for us,” he said.
However, officials will not know how much the district is receiving from the grant until closer to fiscal year 2015, Barnette said.
This was the first time the district has contested the funding formula.
Barnette is still in his first year as the district’s financial officer. District 1 Board Member Theresa Lyons said she is proud of him for investigating the difference and being able to do so in his first year.
“He saved taxpayers money,” she said. “He has proven himself as an asset to Paulding County.”