- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Forrest County School District is not asking for a tax increase in its budget for the new school year.

“There will be no tax increase. The operating ad valorem will be the same that we requested last year,” said business manager Ann Mitcham at the district’s budget hearing Thursday.

The Hattiesburg American reports (http://hatne.ws/1Nly4xV ) the district’s proposed budget is $25.4 million, slightly above last year’s budget of $25.2 million.

Last year, the district went into its reserve fund to pay for raises for non-certified employees.

Superintendent Brian Freeman said it was too early to say if that might happen again.

“Until we close the books out, we really don’t know until Oct. 1 how much money we’ve saved,” he said. “If we do have to take out of reserves, it’s a minimal amount.”

Freeman also said he would have to find some extra money for a few expenses.

“We’ve got to find a way to purchase some buses,” he said. “Our bus fleet continues to age. We also need to refurbish a building at North Forrest (High School).”

Freeman was hoping an 80 percent grant would be coming in for the building, allowing the district to spend only 20 percent.

The Forrest County School Board will vote on the budget July 9.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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