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'We want to be good stewards of tax payers dollars': House Bill 504 won't help Dublin City Schools

House Bill 504 was supposed to narrow the funding gap between high and low income school districts.

DUBLIN, Ga. — House Bill 504 was supposed to narrow the funding gap between high and low income school districts. After crossover day it morphed its focus. 

Now, the bill would provide tax credits for rural hospitals. But, Dublin City School's superintendent Fred Williams says their students still need help.

"To make sure all the burden is not falling on our property owners. So, that's something were really working on to try to bring to fruition," Williams said.

Local property taxes make up about 40% of school budgets. So, if housing prices are high it's easier to pay for schools. 

But if prices are low then not so much. The school district needs some financial help, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Williams says the state has a equalization formula to determine how to distribute wealth to low-wealth school systems. But he says the system isn't working for them.

"All of the things that are contained inside of the city limits such as industry and those type of things which we extremely appreciate. But, in the books it looks like we are wealthier than we really are," he said.

Williams says Dublin City Schools is viewed as a high-wealth district because of its industries and businesses. 

They're wealthy but only on paper. 90% of the districts students are considered to be living in poverty.

"Parents working two or three jobs and what that means just for them to put food on their tables. So, it causes the school to have to be more," Williams said.

His district didn't get any equalization funding from the state this fiscal year because of how they calculate the grants. 

Meanwhile, Laurens County Schools recently received $7.6 million.

"We want to be good stewards of tax payers dollars, and there are some ways that we have proposed that's fair for everybody," Williams said.

Williams says he would like to see the distribution of the taxes across all citizens, in particular those purchasing and buying goods in the community.

He says that would show a more accurate picture of the wealth, or lack thereof, in his district.

The initial version of House Bill 504 would adjust the equalization formula to reflect the true property value of a district.

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