Miami Dade School Board gives nod to a new school budget

07/24/2014 7:41 PM

07/24/2014 7:56 PM

Miami-Dade County School Board members gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $2.9 billion general fund budget and slightly lower tax rate.

Both need to pass a final vote before kicking in.

Though the proposed tax rate is lower, homeowners may see their bill go up because property values have increased.

The proposed rate is $7.97 per $1,000 in taxable property value. Under that rate, the typical homeowner with a taxable property value of $157,000 would pay about $1,250.

The district was able to slightly reduce its debt service, despite being in the second year of a $1.2 billion general bond initiative approved by voters.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho credited “excellent management of debt service” for the reduction.

“What looked impossible, it is possible,” said board Chairman Perla Tabares Hantman.

Included in the budget is funding for new initiatives, such as providing digital textbooks and mobile tablets for students. Other new programs the district hopes to launch: a department to assist students with autism and a partnership with Florida International University to train students with disabilities for tourism jobs.

The proposed budget also boosts reserves by $35 million and doesn’t lay off any teachers for financial reasons.

Miami Herald reporter David Smiley contributed to this report.

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