CHIPLEY -- With completed construction of Kate M. Smith Elementary School, school district officials Tuesday approved a lesser budget than the previous year.

At Tuesday's final budget hearing, Washington County School Board (WCSB) approved a budget of $84,842,458.03, nearly $9 million down from last year's $93,618,610.93. The Board also approved a millage of 6.663 mills, which is about 0.3 mills lower than last year and 3.5 percent less than the rolled back rate.

A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of taxable property value. Of the approved budget, $38,539,928.74 went to the general fund and about $2.2 million to the capital projects fund.

"Last year we had the funds set aside for the construction of the new Kate Smith (M.) Elementary School and it's completed," said WCSB Director of Finance Lucy Carmichael.

The school district received $9.2 million last year from the state for the school's construction.

WCSB Superintendent Joseph Taylor said he feels "a great relief" and is "extremely proud" that the school was completed. That said, he hopes for better student enrollment.

"I think, hopefully, our student numbers have stabilized, because that's what drives our budget," Taylor said. "We had a period of decline over the past few years. So I feel more confident going forward with it."

The School Board meets regularly on the second Monday of the month at 5 p.m. in the board room at the district's headquarters, located at 652 N. 3rd St.