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Board members say they intend to raise taxes

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By Calen McKinney

Taxpayers will likely pay a bit more to the Campbellsville Board of Education this year.

On Monday, Campbellsville School Board members voted that they intend to set tax rates this year to increase the District's revenue by 4 percent.

As such, the rate will increase from 49.7 cents to 53.3 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

As a result, the Board will have a hearing for comment about the rates and then formally vote on them during their next regular meeting on Sept. 9.

Superintendent Mike Deaton said Kentucky Department of Education has recommended the District set rates that will produce 4 percent more revenue than last year's rates did.

Finance Director Chris Kidwell told Board members there is less property in the city school's boundaries this year that will be taxed, because some nonprofit entities have purchased property in the District's boundaries and, as such, they no longer have to pay taxes on that property.

According to information Kidwell provided to Board members, as of Jan. 1, 2012, there was $292,273,997 worth of real estate property subject to taxation within the city school boundaries. As of this Jan. 1, there was $290,533,229. A loss there, he said, means the city won't receive as much revenue in taxes.

And, Kidwell said, to further deduct property subject to taxation in the District, many more residents are taking advantage of the Homestead tax exemption offered when they turn 65.

In past years, he said, about $200,000 in taxable property value has been exempt because of the Homestead exemption. This year, he said, it's estimated that $1.4 million in property value will be exempt.

There are some new businesses in the District, such as Aaron's and Goodyear, Kidwell said, that will bring in some revenue to offset what has been taken off the District's tax roll.

At a rate that will increase revenue by 4 percent, he said, the District's rate for this year will be 53.3 cents per $100 of assessed value for real and personal property. That is an increase of 3.6 percent over last year's rates of 49.7.

Last year's rate produced $1,846,092.95 in revenue. This year's rate is expected to generate $1,949,375.10. Of that amount, $382,895.95 is from new and personal property. The rest is from real property.

Buildings are known as "real" property. Personal property is the term for a person's automobiles and equipment and inventory that belongs to businesses.

According to the information Kidwell provided, the $103,282.15 increase in revenue when compared to last year's rates will be divided between instruction, transportation and maintenance. Instruction will receive $73,282.15. Transportation and maintenance will receive $10,000 and $20,000, respectively.

A compensating rate, should the Board members have chosen it instead, would be 51.1 cents, which would produce $1,875,952.31 in revenue. That rate would also mean taxpayers would likely have paid the District a bit more this year when compared to last year's rates of 49.7 cents, depending on the value of a person's property.

A "compensating" rate is a tax rate that is set to generate about the same amount of income as during the previous fiscal year.

When an entity chooses a compensating rate, the tax rate could actually increase or decrease depending on current property values. With a compensating rate, the only additional revenue an entity might see will come from taxes received on new properties. The compensating rate does not require a public hearing.

The Board could have set a rate to increase revenue by up to 4 or more percent, though a 4-percent increase requires a public hearing. It is not subject to voter recall. The rate would also have to be advertised. Any rate that increases revenue more than 4 percent is subject to voter recall.

Campbellsville's proposed rate will be advertised in the News-Journal on Aug. 26 and Sept. 2.

To put the District's rate in perspective, Kidwell said, Danville's rate is 83 cents.

"So we're still quite a bit lower."

Kidwell said the District's SEEK funding from the state, which is based on Average Daily Attendance, has decreased year after year. But since enrollment figures are up, he said, that could be different this year.

Board member Suzanne Wilson made a motion to approve the items on the Board's agenda, which includes the intent to set a rate to increase tax revenue by 4 percent. Board member Barkley Taylor seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

The Board's hearing, which is required when an entity chooses a tax rate that will produce 4 percent more in revenue, will be Monday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. at Campbellsville Elementary School. The regular Board meeting will follow at 6 p.m. Both are open to the public.

Academic Spotlights

The district's Family Resource and Youth Services Center, as well as the Taylor County Adult Learning Center, were this month's academic spotlights.

Sue Crabtree, coordinator of the FRYSC, said the center helps students achieve academically and remove any barriers that might prevent them from learning.

Crabtree said the center hosts Be Excited About Reading nights with activities to help improve literacy, coordinates a backpack program to send food home on the weekends for children who might not have enough to eat and much more. She said about $7,000 is still needed to fully fund the backpack program this year.

There are many activities coming up soon in the district, she said, from Truth or Consequences for freshmen and sophomores and a health fair, along with events and screenings to help children get ready for kindergarten.

She said about 35 students and 25 parents attended the last B.E.A.R. night, which is much more than in previous years.

"They're taking an interest and reading with their kids. And that's a good thing."

Funding for the FRYSC comes from the state.

Annette Jefferson, director of the adult learning center, said more than 70 people have completed their GEDS at the center this year. She said there are typically five to six each month, but, in June and July, there were 30.

In January, she said, a new GED test will be unveiled and the cost to take it will double from $60 to $120. She said those who have taken part of the test but not completed it will see their scores disappear.

"Now is the time to do it," she said.

And Jefferson said the new test will likely be more challenging.

"It's a lot of changes coming our way."

Jefferson said Campbellsville University is now offering a free class to those who complete their GED at the center. She said that has created lots of excitement to those who have dreamed of receiving a letter inviting them to attend college.

"We've had a lot of interest," she said.

Campbellsville School District sponsors the center, but doesn't contribute any funding to it. Jefferson said funding comes from the state and federal government.

Also at the Meeting:

• Kidwell presented the District's financial reports for July and the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

For last fiscal year, the District had a carryover of $2,262,169.56. But when subtracting the committed and reserved funds, the actual carryover equates to $1,817,169.56.

After the meeting, he said that amount is about $200,000 more than the District's carryover from the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Revenue for July was $789,287.37 and expenses totaled $855,769.04. The closing balance at the end of last month was $2,723,101.56.

• In his monthly report to Board members, Deaton said MAP or Measures of Academic Progress testing has begun at Campbellsville Elementary School.

He said the high school will offer a satellite robotics class at CU's Technology Training Center to help enhance its curriculum.

David Petett, the district's director of district-wide services, said students can graduate from Campbellsville High School with as many as 30 hours of college credit. That allows students to attend college classes at a discounted rate, he said, and while still in high school.

Eighth-grade students at Campbellsville Middle School will all take high school classes this year, Petett said, and can complete as many as five high school credits while in middle school.

And, he said, there are now honors level classes offered at the middle school.

All of that is being done, he said, to give students opportunities to succeed and make doing so easier.

• Board members approved the District's head start agreement. They also appointed school principals, assistant principals and counselors as state Admissions and Release Committee representatives.

• The District's plan with American Fidelity Cafeteria, a company it has worked with since 1988, was approved.

• Board members renewed the District's list of emergency non-certified school personnel who can be used to substitute classes.

• The month's personnel report includes:

New Employees - Andrew Bennett, CHS biology teacher; Leanna Cundiff, CES kindergarten teacher; JoAnn Harris, preschool instructional assistant; Kevin Johnson, CHS special education teacher; Carl Lee, bus driver; and Trista Schwoebel, CMS instructional assistant.

Resigned/Retired Employees - Lindsay Hines, CMS special education teacher; and Lindsay Williams, CHS English teacher.

Transfers - Richard Dooley, CHS guidance counselor; Tyler Hardy, CHS English teacher; and Paige Thompson, CMS language arts teacher.

• Board members met in closed session to discuss litigation and personnel for about 20 minutes. No action was taken.