During a tax hearing special meeting on Thursday, the Madison County Board of Education decided to keep the same tax rate as last year, at 63.6 cents per $100 on assessed real estate and personal property, plus exonerations.

Superintendent David Gilliam explained to those in attendance and to the board that once all the property evaluations goes to the state, the state creates two different numbers. It can file for what's called the compensating rate -- which, if the board were to adopt that, the board of education wouldn't have to hold a public hearing. The other is the high end, which is a 4% revenue increase. When the state posts the tax hearing notice, Gilliam noted, the notice is posted as though it is proposed or recommended to go with one of those options.

"We are not recommending a tax increase, we are recommending that we keep taxes at the same rate we did the prior year with exonerations," he said. "We are not raising taxes here."

Gilliam said that increases revenue a little because assessments went up slightly.

"But that is not tax increased, no one's individual tax bill will go up from what we are doing here tonight," Gilliam said.

One parent asked if there were to be a tax increase, would it be applied to metal detectors at the high school, to which Gilliam said that would be a board decision later down the road.

Board members voted to approve two emergency certifications, one of a learning behavior disorders teacher at Madison Middle School and a math teacher at Foley Middle School.

"An emergency certification can be granted if there are no suitable applicants for the position who hold a certification for that position," Gilliam said.

He noted that the two teachers in question currently hold other teacher certifications and have taught in the county's school system before. Gilliam said they intend to acquire the necessary certifications within the next month or so, but that the emergency certification was required to allow them to start teaching.

They also voted to approve the Madison Central High School cross-country trip to Tennessee. No buses will be needed for the competition, as parents are willing to drive the student athletes.

The board also heard from Jacob Cecil, the district's director of technology, about data breaches and how the district handles them. He noted that each year, he is required to update the board of education on current procedures for data breaches, which include district-wide trainings and changing passwords every 120 days.

"As a school system, we handle a lot of personal data," Cecil said.

Cecil said his department is constantly working to ensure that those who have access to certain files and information are the only ones who do. He also noted there are locked areas throughout different locations that hold paper documents in fire-proof cabinets.

"It is no small job," Beth Brock, board member, said.

Reach Kaitlyn Brooks at 624-6608; follow her on Twitter @kaitlynsbrooks.

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