School board to hold tax levy hearing Sept. 2
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Aug 18, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Trigg County Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the school tax levy at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, even though the board did not want to change the rate at its meeting last Thursday night.

At that meeting, board members talked about wanting to keep the levy at the current rate at 45.9 cents per $100 of assessed property value, which is 0.2 percent higher than what Trigg County School Superintendent Travis Hamby called the compensating rate.

Property assessment values went up in the county by $15.2 million this year, causing the state to decrease the compensating rate this year, said Hamby, who added that the compensating rate ensures that the school district will bring in the same amount of revenue this year as they did last year.

After the public hearing, the board could choose to keep it at 45.9 cents, could choose the compensating rate of 45.7 cents or could increase it by 4 percent to 47.5 cents, which would give the district an extra $198,186 in revenue.

“I think we have to be aware of where our community is at,” Hamby said. “If we do go with the compensating rate or leave the tax rate the same, which is what I would recommend … I don’t think that’s something we can do forever.”

Board members like Joan Terrell were reluctant to increase the lax levy, as she noted that not much has changed in the local economy.

Since the personal property compensating rate is 45.9 cents, the same as the current rate, the board voted to leave both rates the same.

“We can continue to weather the storm for a while, but not indefinitely,” Hamby said.

Beth Sumner, assistant superintendent for instruction for Trigg County Schools, noted that 66 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunches, a percentage she said has increased significantly in the past few years.

In other business, the board voted to approve the timeline for implementation of the recommendations from the Trigg County High School Study Group.

Many of the recommendations, including the ongoing professional development of college readiness standards, the development of appropriate interventions and the review of the current high school schedule, are already underway, Hamby said.

The schools hope to have most of the recommendations implemented by Christmas break, but the new schedule and the advisor/advisee program will be implemented next year, according to a school document outlining the timeline.

The school board had a second reading of the board policy regarding telecommunications devices like cell phones. Hamby said the policy change makes the policy congruent with what is written in the code of conduct.

The policy states that although a student can bring such devices to school, all such devices should be turned off and out of sight during school hours unless there is an emergency that warrants its use. The school day is defined as 30 minutes before class begins and 30 minutes after school is dismissed.

The school board also voted to enter into contracts with Audubon Community Services to teach preschoolers and with the Lyon County School District to take up to five out-of-county students.

The board also voted to approve the 2010-2011 school food service fees, which Hamby said have not been changed since the 2007-2008 school year. The arguments for keeping the food fees the same were the same as the arguments for keeping the tax levy the same, namely the lack of meaningful local economic improvement.

The board also made payments of $197,410 and $88,101 to Mechanical Consultants for replacement of the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) unit on the vocational building, and also made a payment of $57,760 to Magnum Roofing for the vocational building re-roofing project.

In other news, Sumner briefly talked about the district’s improvement plan, while the principals of the Trigg County Primary, Intermediate, Middle and High Schools talked about individual school improvement plans.
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