School Board Votes on New Tax Levy

On September 15, members of the Board of Education discussed approval of the tax rate $5.18 which would allow the District to stay revenue neutral. This rate passed with a vote of four to three.

According to Chief Financial Officer Kevin Supple, increasing the tax rate to $5.18 would produce the same amount of revenue in FY12 as the prior rate did in FY11. Supple arrived at this number because with the decrease in housing values, State revenue is also decreasing. This means less money for the District. However, with the shaky economic recovery, members were hesitant to increase the tax.

President Mike Sommer voted against raising the tax rate to $5.18. He believes that the school district can stay revenue neutral with less of an increase.

“Because new construction will bring in more revenue in our district, we could have lowered the levy and still remained revenue neutral,” Sommer said.

Director Marty Hodits voted to let the suggested tax rate stand. Hodits feels that for all practical purposes, this tax increase will allow the District to stay revenue neutral as far as the county is concerned.

“Once I looked at all the information given to us, [I realized that] by increasing the tax, the District’s revenue would stay the same as last year,” Hodits said. “It will help offset the decrease in money from the state of Missori and federal government.”

Director Dr. Cynthia Bice agrees with this position on the tax increases.

“I would rather give my tax dollars to the school system rather than the criminal justice system,” Bice said. “When we do things that benefit the kids, we are benefiting the community.”

The Board will be revisiting this issue in a special meeting scheduled for September 28. The tax rate decided may not be final.

“There were two board members—I was one—that, after the vote was taken, felt other board members were either confused or could have voted for a lower tax rate,” Vice President Steve Johnson said. “I wanted to revisit the motion.”