Atlanta Public Schools Wins Court Ruling Ordering the Immediate Collection of Property Tax Revenues in Fulton County

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Contact: Latisha Gray
Office:  404-802-2816
Cell:  414-688-1478
Latisha.Gray@atlanta.k12.ga.us

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   November 3, 2017

Atlanta Public Schools Wins Court Ruling Ordering the Immediate Collection of Property Tax Revenues in Fulton County

Tax Collection Delay Still Leaves Cash Flow Challenge for APS

ATLANTA – Atlanta Public Schools won a decision today in Fulton County Superior Court, ordering the immediate and temporary collection of residential property taxes in Fulton County. This means that the taxing jurisdictions within Fulton County can move forward with the issuance of property tax bills and collect the property tax revenues owed to Atlanta Public Schools.

APS like other school districts in Georgia, is highly dependent on tax collections, with about 70% of general fund revenue coming from local revenue and 62.5% which is approximately $485 million coming from the Fulton County Tax Digest. 

“All of us at Atlanta Public Schools are pleased by today’s court ruling which begins the process of collecting the property tax revenues that are so critical to the safe and successful operation of our school system,” said Meria J. Carstarphen, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent. “At the same time, the initial delay in tax collections will still have a significant impact on our ability to operate as normal for the remainder of this calendar year. I am so appreciative of the support we have received from the board, staff and families of APS.”

Earlier this summer, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted to freeze a portion of the tax digest for reassessed residential properties at 2016 levels. That decision resulted in a delay in payment of tax revenues to the Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County Schools and 15 municipalities in Fulton County.

After the Georgia Department of Revenue did not approve the submitted 2017 tax digest from Fulton County, Atlanta Public Schools joined Fulton County Schools in filing a request for the courts to intervene in this matter and order the immediate and temporary collection of property taxes. The court heard the matter today and ruled in favor of APS and Fulton County Schools.

Atlanta Public Schools will be monitoring its operational cash-flows closely and will continue to review a number of options to mitigate the short-term financial impacts of this delay. The District is taking the following steps to address the short-term cash flow shortages caused by the delay:

  • Slow outgoing cash payments
  • Implement a hiring and spending freeze and out-of-system travel freeze
  • Delay the $500 one-time payment for employees not on the teacher salary scale
  • Implement targeted furlough days for select positions (non-teaching employees)
  • Defer unfunded pension payments
  • Work with our charters to negotiate delayed payment

“This delay in tax collections has really put a cash flow burden on Atlanta Public Schools,” says Superintendent Carstarphen. “But I want our school community to know that we are aggressively implementing these spend-reduction strategies as a means of ensuring the smooth and safe operation of our school system for the remainder of this calendar year, while ensuring we maintain our excellent credit rating.”

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About Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools is one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia, serving approximately 52,000 students across 88 schools. The district is organized into nine K-12 clusters with 67 traditional schools, 17 charter schools, two citywide single-gender academies and two alternative programs. For more information, visit www.atlantapublicschools.us, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaPublicSchools/ and on Twitter @apsupdate.