Escambia School Board Approves Lower Millage Rate, $797.5 Million Budget

September 16, 2023

The Escambia County School Board has approved a lower millage rate and a high budget for the 2023-2024 year.

The millage rate will drop from 5.274 to 5.144, but is still considered a tax increase because it exceeds the rolled back rate by 9.6%. The rolled back rate is a computed millage rate that would generate the same amount of ad valorem tax dollars as the prior fiscal year, based on the proposed year’s tax roll, excluding new construction. A millage rate higher than the rolled-back rate is defined by the State of Florida as a tax increase.

The budget is $797.5 million, up $15 million from the last fiscal year budget of $782 million.

The budget and millage rate passed on a 4-0 vote with District 1 board member Kevin Adams absent.


25 Responses to “Escambia School Board Approves Lower Millage Rate, $797.5 Million Budget”

  1. Lou on September 19th, 2023 7:02 pm

    Men and women in coveralls build this nation. Men and women in suits ruined it. If you really care . vote them out . Let the next batch try it once again .

  2. Bob on September 18th, 2023 5:14 pm


    So you were totally fine with taking money from the community to help put your kids through school, but as soon as it’s your turn to contribute, you suddenly think that the system is unfair.

    Again, the purpose of taxes is promoting the general welfare. It is in ALL of our best interest that ALL of the children in our county have access to education.

  3. Chris on September 18th, 2023 3:58 pm

    I do not even have kids in the school system any more. When they were in school I had no issue with the taxes. they have been out and my taxes should be reduced, as far as I am concerned. They cannot even keep up with the money they have but always want more. I know that those taxes will never go away, just wishful thinking.

  4. Bonnie Exner on September 18th, 2023 12:37 pm

    @ Steve…The Fla Lottery came into existence in 1998..I t was sold to the voting public as all the money will go to the school systems…this was not totally correct..1. They have to reserve some % of monies for payouts on winners. 2. What wasn’t said was the amount of Lottery money going in to the state budget was then siphoned out by our state legislators from the general fund to pay for other needs.LOTTERY FUNDS WERE TO SUPPLEMENT STATE EDUCATIONAL FUNDS NOT SUBSTITUTE THEM…
    Also FLORIDA BRIGHT FUTURE SCHOLARSHIPS evolved from Lottery funds…this was a tremendous benefit to parents of graduating seniors who maintained a certain grade point average for 4 years and sometimes gave full tuition to any FLORIDA state college/ university.

  5. Bob on September 17th, 2023 3:18 pm


    Fair enough. If you believe that there is excessive waste in our education department, I encourage you (and applaud you for taking the initiative!) to find it.

    My two cents? It costs each taxpayer in our county roughly $2,400/year to keep our schools operational. Considering the alternative, I think that is a bargain and am more than happy to pay that tax.

  6. Steve on September 17th, 2023 2:52 pm

    Bob, I’m not arguing the total budget is wrong and I agree with your point about the various forms of funding. But, as a consumer, I do think $20k per student seems excessive enough that we should be questioning where the money is going. I

    f I were paying tuition to a private school, I’d probably want to see their budget as well. I don’t know how much Pensacola Christian and Trinitas get from church revenue and donations. But, Trinitas doesn’t operate a church and I’d be surprised if either receives 44% of the budget (which is the approximate amount of your example) from church revenue/donations.

    I reviewed, many years ago, the school budget for Escambia County and even then, there were duplications of functions, thus wasting money.

    Consider; the state lottery was sold to voters on the idea that it would add to, not take away, from education and here we are, millions of dollars later and it’s not enough. There seems to be a residential building boom in the county yet, where’s the boom to school tax revenue? Remember how we needed the Local Option Sales Tax for schools? Still not enough.

    I am simply saying we should scrutinize the allocation of funds, just as we would any other investment. If $20k per student, per year is the appropriate amount, so be it. I think we can do better.

  7. Bob on September 17th, 2023 11:35 am


    “If I’m wrong, please correct me”

    Okay. You’re comparing the total budget for public schools to the tuition of private schools.

    If School A receives $200 of funding from local taxes, and School B receives $150 from tuition, $90 from donations, and $30 from church funding, would you still argue that School B has the lower budget since tuition is lower?

  8. Steve on September 17th, 2023 9:56 am

    Daniel, yes I DO understand how budgets work.

    If you go get your car serviced and are told the oil change is going to be $200 because the servicer has multiple locations and needs to pay for those other locations and employees, do you pay the $200? OR, do you go to the competition and pay $80 or less for the same service?

    In general, I don’t believe the Teachers and School Staff are the problem. But governments never, EVER have “enough” money.

  9. SW on September 17th, 2023 4:38 am

    Millage might be lower, but assessments go up. Any way you cut it, it’s an increase. Instead of yelling just at the school board, we need to yell at the commissioners and property appraiser.

  10. George on September 16th, 2023 11:20 pm

    Daniel it is still per student no matter how it is distributed.

  11. Daniel on September 16th, 2023 5:44 pm

    @steve, do you not understand how budgets work? And what’s included in those budgets? Clearly not. It’s not per student. It’s every single expense in the school system for our county. How does nobody get simple math and the model in which funds are distributed.

  12. Rusty on September 16th, 2023 5:30 pm

    I love hearing people say in one breath they haven’t had kids in Public school since the 90’s then turn around and say attendance is down because of what they’re teaching? How do you know what they’re teaching exactly. Just parroting talking points. This is not to say that the budget isn’t high, but I’d be more suspicious of how the money is spent and whose pockets are being lined vs being suspicious of teachers and school staff who are underpaid and overworked. Just saying.

  13. Beach Boy on September 16th, 2023 5:13 pm

    @ Bob….I totally agree with you. Children need to learn certain things early in life. However, from what I’m reading and hearing from parents who have children in public schools are beginning to remove them out of public schools, because some of the subject matter is being taught to children too young to understand and it’s not all reading, writing and arithmetic, and putting them in Private schools.

    @Jlb…I totally understand and that’s good. My biggest problem are those seniors who are on fixed incomes and have a difficult time coping with inflation. Our resources can only go so far. We don’t have the privilege of getting pay raises and bonuses just to survive.

  14. Steve on September 16th, 2023 4:20 pm

    I don’t mind paying school taxes, but…$20,720 per child, per year seems high. We can send our kids to Trinitas or Pensacola Christian for less than $10,000/year, have better facilities and teacher: student ratio.

    It used to be that we supported public education because private was so much more expensive. It now appears to be the opposite. If I’m wrong, please correct me and I hope I am.

    Why, with all of the new construction (which should be adding gazillions to the district’s coffers), are we paying twice as much for public education than private?

  15. kane on September 16th, 2023 3:08 pm

    See I told you the funding level was nowhere near the education level XD

  16. Daniel on September 16th, 2023 2:53 pm

    @kane, the budget includes all the employees salaries, maintenance costs, bus fuel, all the utilities it takes to open the schools. Do you not understand how a business operates on a budget?

  17. Don cooper on September 16th, 2023 2:49 pm

    Kane, move your decimal point 3 places to the left.

  18. Jlb on September 16th, 2023 2:28 pm

    Beach boy…I do not have children in school…however I do not have a problem paying school taxes. I would bet people who had no children helped pay for mine.

  19. Bob on September 16th, 2023 1:15 pm


    Might want to double check that math.

    $797 million divided by 38,465 students is $20,720 per student, not $20 million.

  20. Bob on September 16th, 2023 1:11 pm

    @Beach Boy

    Because we live in a society. The taxes that we pay are used to promote the public good. It’s in our best interest to have a population that can read, write, do math, and understand civics.

  21. Kane on September 16th, 2023 11:00 am

    There are 69 public schools in Escambia County and 38,465 students according to the US world news and the Escambia County Schools own website confirms this. Why does that small number of schools and students equate to almost 800 million dollars in funding? That’s over 20 million per child. The level of education is nowhere near the funding level. I am going to need an itemized list of every penny spent.

  22. Beach Boy on September 16th, 2023 10:16 am

    Attention School Board Members: PLEASE explain to us why we should pay School Board taxes if we don’t have children in school?!?!? Mine have been out of school since 1997. A lot of children don’t attend public schools. And the reason they don’t attend public schools, is because of the garbage you’re teaching them. I know of more parents that are putting their children in private schools. Someone needs to introduce a referendum, “if you have children in public schools, you will pay school board taxes.” “If you DON”T have children in public schools and want to pay school board taxes or make donations, you may do so.”

  23. Teresa A Comparetta on September 16th, 2023 9:56 am

    I only have the right to speak for myself, I, as a taxpayer, would like for to print the Escambia School Board higher budget 2023-2024 that was just passed. A direct link to the budget will suffice. I am thinking there are many more people that would like to know as well.

    Thank you for any help you can give or if anyone else know of the direct link to read their 2023-2024 budget in its entirety, please post.

    God Bless

  24. Simmerdown on September 16th, 2023 9:27 am


    Right, because inflation isn’t a thing. That’s an increase of less than 2%.

  25. RW on September 16th, 2023 8:11 am