CHIPLEY — The Washington County School Board just took a few minutes Monday to approve a millage rate of 7.538 — a rate about one-half a mill lower than last year’s rate.

CHIPLEY — The Washington County School Board  just took a few minutes Monday to approve a millage rate of 7.538 — a rate about one-half a mill lower than last year’s rate.

District Director of Finance Lucy Carmichael presented the millage rate of 7.538 to the board for approval.

“The millage rate is lower than the rolled-back rate of 7.9463 mills,” Carmichael said.

“The rolled-back rate is close to where it was last year, and the millage rate is actually lower than last year,” said Terry Ellis, school board president.

“We’ve been through a number of rainy days, and we knew to be prepared,” Ellis said of the board’s successful budgeting.

That proposed rate includes a 1.5 mill property tax for capital outlay projects, including a number of construction and remodeling efforts.

The new Kate M. Smith Elementary School is one of those projects funded by the proposed $92,648,782 budget, according to a report distributed by Carmichael at the July 23 school board meeting.

Other projects include construction and remodeling of the Chipley High School gym lobby, construction of a consolidated bus barn, a track for Vernon High School and a Vernon Middle School baseball field and expansion of the Chipley High/Roulhac Middle cafeteria.

Maintenance and renovation projects planned for the district include maintenance of various schools and district plants and roof repairs, classroom renovations at Vernon Elementary, renovations at the historic Chipley High, public restroom renovations and lighting improvements on athletic fields.

The district also plans to purchase 10 new buses this year, to replace school and district plant furniture and equipment, upgrade the district’s technology infrastructure, according to the report.

The final budget hearing will be held on Sept. 9 at 5:05 p.m.

The next regular school board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Aug. 12. There will be an executive session prior to the regular meeting, beginning at 4 p.m., Superintendent Joe Taylor said.

The Aug. 12 meeting will also include a public hearing at which the board will consider adopting or revising school board policies and procedures, the code of student conduct and the pupil progression plan.

Taylor said the board plans to recognize the district’s 18 students who received perfect FCAT scores at the Aug. 12 meeting.