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Pasco school board gives tentative OK to budget

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— The Pasco County School Board gave tentative approval Tuesday evening to a $1.2 billion budget for the 2015 fiscal year.

The board also approved a school property tax rate of $7.15 per $1,000 of taxable property value, a 21-cent decrease from the current $7.36.

Board members voted after the first of two public hearings that are required before the budget and tax rate are final. The second hearing is scheduled at 6 p.m. Sept. 16.

Based on that tax rate, the owner of a house valued at $200,000, after taking the $25,000 homestead exemption, would pay $1,251 in school taxes, down from $1,288 under the current rate.

Even with the drop in the proposed tax rate, the school district expects to collect more money. That’s because the total value of taxable property in Pasco increased to $22.4 billion, up about 4.8 percent.

Based on preliminary figures, the tax should generate about $121.5 million for the general fund, up from $120.3 million. It will also generate about $32.3 million for the capital budget.

The local tax isn’t the only source of revenue for the school district. Money also comes in from the state and federal governments.

While revenue is expected to go up, so is enrollment. The district is projecting a 2014-15 enrollment of 67,030, an increase of about 925 over last year.

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