Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said because of increases in spending on school safety, special education and other issues controlled by the state Department of Education, the upcoming 2019-20 year will have little wiggle room.

MILTON — Although missing from the Santa Rosa County School District tentative budget, Linda Sanborn said Tuesday she wished she saw a line item showing the revenue from an impact fee on new houses bought by homebuyers.

It remains a sore spot with the new District 1 School Board member and former educator of 35 years, especially since the school system has seen an increase in property tax revenues by 8.54% to nearly $11.6 over the previous year.

“We need an impact fee on the houses some people said were not being built,” Sanborn said.

Santa Rosa County commissioners rejected a plea by the School Board to put the impact fee on the Oct. 8 special election ballot for voters to decide whether to raise the county’s half-cent sales tax to a penny.

The School District reported that its total millage rate will drop from 6.299 to 6.091 per $1,000 of taxable property value for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1

Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said because of increases in spending on school safety, special education and other issues controlled by the state Department of Education, the upcoming 2019-20 year will have little wiggle room.

“This is a very tight budget,” said Wyrosdick, who announced earlier this year he will not run for a fourth term in 2020.

The School District reported that enrollment is estimated to increase 423 students to 28,359 total next fiscal year. The district already has eight of 11 schools, or 73%, in the south end near or over school capacity. In the north end — mostly in the Pace area — seven of 24 schools, or 29%, have experienced the same.

Despite overcrowding, the district’s capital outlay budget will decrease about $3.6 million to $45.1 million from this year. If the school system charged the full 1.5 mills instead of the 1.4 it has charged for years, it would add more than $1.1 million dollars to its budget used for construction.

Additionally, the School District has reported that its half-cent sales tax collections jumped $708,393 to nearly $9.1 million in 2018-19. That’s the highest amount since voters approved the tax and that the school system began collecting Oct. 1, 1998.

The district pointed out that salaries, including for its 2,094 instructors, eats up about 58% of its nearly $236 million operating budget.

However, Bill Vincent, who does collective bargaining for teachers, pointed out that school system data shows 915 teachers make $24,000 a year.

“When you deliberate on the budget, I ask that you think about this group of employees,” Vincent said.

The first public hearing on the budget is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1, 2019 at Woodlawn Beach Middle School near Navarre. The final public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 in the board room on Canal Street in Milton.