The public will have an opportunity to speak up Tuesday night on the proposed $149 million budget for the next school year and whether residents favor an option for the Fort Mill Board of Trustees to raise the operational millage rate to the highest allowed by law.

Residents can speak at 6 p.m. May 21 at the board offices, located at 2233 Deerfield Drive, Fort Mill, S.C.

Fort Mill Superintendent Chuck Epps and the school administrators have proposed a tax hike for the operational millage of 13 mills in school taxes, an increase that would likely be offset for taxpayers by a reduction in the debt millage. But they could go even higher, to 14 mills, to fund even more needed items in the school district.

Some trustees are worried about the message the higher millage rate is sending to the business community, which pays much of the school taxes. Others say that their role as trustees is to put children first, and the extra funds are needed to fulfill that mission.

The extra mills would raise the new operational tax rate to over 200 mills.