The Camden County Board of Education voted to adopt a millage rate increase on newly evaluated properties. For 2016, the average state millage rate for school districts was 16.496. Currently, Camden County School’s millage rate is currently at 15.907. The local Board of Education increased the county’s millage rate to 16.00.
The main reason the local Board increased the millage rate is due to the fact they had to comply with the formula that allows the school district to receive Federal Impact Aid from the federal government for militarily connected schools. Often, the state’s average millage rates fluctuate each year and the school district must review the rates yearly to stay in compliance with the federal impact aid formula.
Camden County Schools became ineligible for Federal Impact Aid disbursements for the fiscal year in 2001, according to a letter sent from the U.S. Department of Education. The school district receives these delayed payouts each fiscal year based on the Federal Impact Aid eligibility. Typically, the funding from the federal government funds about 80 teachers for Camden County Schools.
The letter stated the following: “After reviewing your data, we have found that your district does not meet the requirements of 7003(b)(2)(B) for a district that received a heavily impacted payment for FY 2001.”
The letter goes on to say that due to the new revision of the federal education law, known as Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), there will be a “hold harmless” year for the school district and they will receive their payout for the fiscal year 2017. However, the letter states that “your district will not be eligible for a Section 7003(b)(2) payment for subsequent years unless it again meets all eligibility requirements for two consecutive years (20 USC 7703(b)(2)(B)(iii)).”
For Camden County Schools to receive federal impact aid for future fiscal years, the county’s millage rate must be within 95 percent of the state’s millage rate. Currently, Camden’s percentage is at 94 percent of the requirement; therefore, the Board increased the millage rate at the recommendation of the Superintendent.
According to the Camden County Board of Education agenda documents, “the district’s tax rate for the 2017 calendar year must exceed the 15.671 threshold to continue eligibility to receive Federal Impact Aid funds as a Heavily Impacted district. The loss of heavily impacted funding would place a significant burden on the taxpayers to preserve the staff and services offered by Camden County Schools. The 95% threshold is 0.236 mills below the rollback rate.”
Another important factor the school district must continue to monitor is the enrollment of militarily connected students they have in the district. According to the federal impact aid criteria:
“An enrollment of eligible federally connected children that is at least 35 percent of the
district’s total student enrollment, including students under F and G for the purposes of
Currently, the September enrollment report stated that Camden County Schools increased their enrollment by 53 students for the 2017-2018 school year. The total amount of students in the school district is 9,229 based on September’s report. Thirty-five percent of the enrollment number must be federally connected to continue to receive federal funds in the future.
If the number of Federally connected students decreases relative to the non-federally connected students, then the eligibility of impact aid will be affected.