Bay District Schools’ 2023-24′ budget could increase by millions

The influx of people moving to Bay County means local schools have to be prepared to fill more seats. And the price tag to do that isn't cheap.
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 7:15 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The influx of people moving to Bay County means local schools have to be prepared to fill more seats. That’s why the Bay District School Board held a special meeting Monday afternoon to discuss this year’s proposed budget.

The proposed budget for this school year currently stands at $701,271,126. It was $607,969,313 last year.

Board members said more families moving to the area is playing a role. They also said the increase is meant to be a proactive measure to ensure every student has a desk and chair in the classroom.

“When you look at those numbers it’s easy to say man, the school board has a lot more money,” School Board Chairman Steve Moss said. “Holy smokes, $100 million more or whatever it might be, but the caveat of that is we’re going to spend a lot of that on the growth that generated it in the first place in regard to the new students coming in and populating those single-family homes, condos, apartments, and those kinds of things. So, it’s easy to say they’ve got a lot more money to spend, yes, but we have a lot more students to spend that money on.”

Moss said the Tyndall rebuild is also attracting families to the area.

“Right now, only a third of the folks who will be active duty stationed at Tyndall are here,” the school board chairman said. “That means two-thirds of the folks are still on their way here with their families. So, we’re trying to be proactive to figure out when those airmen get here. We got to make sure we have capacity not only at Tyndall Academy but our other schools as well.”

NewsChannel 7 was told a number of schools in the county are expanding their buildings to meet the growing demand of students. These include Southport, Hiland Park, West Bay, and Northside.

However, the proposed budget wasn’t the only agenda item brought up at the meeting.

School board members also approved the tentative millage rate. They set it at 5.48 mills. Last year’s rate was 5.5 mills, so taxpayers can look forward to a .02 decrease. That amount in dollars will be different for every property owner.

The final budget and millage rate will be approved on Aug. 3.