School Spending Plan

Houston County education officials outlined their spending plan for revenue from a proposed school tax increase at Monday's Houston County Commission meeting.

Voters go to the polls next week to approve or reject a five-mil property tax hike and a half-cent increase in sales taxes.

County education officials say they're just trying to re-coup money they've already lost.

Houston County School Superintendent Kenneth Lord said Houston County schools have been steadily losing ground since 1995, when state education officials put a new funding formula in place.

Local school systems are now required to collect at least 10 mils of property tax, or the equivalent for education. Houston County gets only eight mils and its costing them state funds.

Lord said surrounding counties are already paying more to educate their children.

A five-mil property tax hike would generate an extra $1.7 million for the 6,000 students in the Houston County School system. A half-cent sales tax increase would generate about $2.2 million.

But Lord said both taxes combined would not make up the ground they've already lost, such as the 14 teachers and 25 aides they cut last year alone.