Board members Billy Neil Ellis and Janet Landers were unable to attend the meeting.
Chickamauga schools superintendent Melody Day laid out the measures that had been taken to offset nine years of funding cuts.
The system reduced staff, increased class sizes, postponed textbook purchases, and reduced travel expenses, in addition to six furlough days last year and six more already scheduled prior to the end of this year.
According to the school board data, only 12 districts in Georgia have lower millage than Chickamauga, out of 180.
There has not been an increase since 2003, and this amounts to $70 per $100,000 of home value.
Currently 85% of the annual budget goes to staffing.
“We lose state dollars because we don’t tax our people enough,” Ellis said regarding the low tax rates that property owners have had for years.
“If they drive up past the Tennessee line they will learn what high taxes are. They are brutal up their.
Ellis deals in real estate in both Georgia and Tennessee.
Three of the city’s councilmen were among the five people at the final hearing.
“I will review the budget before making a decision, but I trust the judgment of the school board,” council member Evitte Parrish said.
Day estimates the cost to educate one child in the system at between $5,500 and $6,000.
The school is comprised of 48 percent students zoned within the city, and 52 percent of students who pay some tuition.
Locals within the county pay $500 per child with a maximum of $1,500 per family, while out-of-state residents would pay the full cost to educate the child.
Any tuition increase would have to be for next school year.
“Nothing is off the table,” Day explained about possible tuition increases or more furlough days.
“We have been told by the governor's office to prepare for an additional 2 percent cut this year and possibly a 4 percent cut next year. We will see how this plays out and make an informed decision prior to the end of this school year,” Day said.
Day stated that parental response to the tax increase has been that “people aren’t welcoming it, but they are understanding and seeing the need.”
Chickamauga City council will consider the recommendation at its meeting on Oct. 4.
Annual austerity reductions by budget year
2003 - $122,682
2004 - $254,716
2005 - $298,429
2006 - $298,426
2007 - $277,489
2008 - $116,652
2009 - $451,873
2010 - $1,205,926
2011 - $942,402 (may increase)