Those living in the Whitley County school district will see their property tax bills going up this year.
During its regular monthly meeting Thursday, the Whitley County Board of Education levied a 4 percent tax increase.
The increase means that someone owning a $100,000 home will pay $17 more in taxes.
Prior to the start, the board held a tax hearing and no one spoke out regarding the proposed increase.
Superintendent John Siler noted the increase is the same percentage that both Corbin and Williamsburg also approved.
While he doesn’t like raising taxes, Siler said it is necessary.
“Every district in the state is going through this,” he added.
The board set the real estate and personal property tax rates at 44.7 cents per $100 of assessed value. The rate was officially set at 44.3 cents plus an additional 0.4 cents for prior year loses due to exonerations, or taxes that weren’t paid.
The tax increase is expected to generate between $100,000 – $120,000 in terms of additional revenue for the district.
Siler said the funding would be used to offset various funding decreases and increased expenses that the district is handling.
For instance, there is a 12 percent increase, or $145,000, that the district will have to pay to the County Employee Retirement System (CERS) to help cover shortfalls in the retirement system.
The district will be paying $68,000 for new math textbooks for kindergarten through sixth grade.
The district also received a $58,000 cut for professional development funding, a $109,000 cut for textbook funding, and a $48,000 cut in preschool funding this fiscal year.
In addition, the district added a third school resource officer. One is assigned to the high school, one to the middle school, and a third resource officer will alternate patrols between the elementary schools.
During the 2017 tax year, the Whitley County school district had the 13th lowest tax rate out of the 173 school districts in Kentucky, Siler noted.
During Thursday’s meeting, the board approved the 2018-2019 $44 million working budget, which includes a $29 million general fund.
The district will receive $4,000 in Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding per student from the state. This is based on average daily attendance and will be an increase of $114,000 for the district, noted Chief Finance Officer Alicia Logan.
The working budget includes a 2.6 percent contingency fund. The state requires at least a 2 percent contingency fund, but the state would prefer each district to have a 5 percent contingency fund, she said.
“Overall we feel good about the budget. We just wish there was more money from the state coming in,” Logan added.
In other business, the board:
- Recognized Whitley County High School student Blake McCullah, who was one of 37 students nationwide to attend 29th Annual High School Math-Science Technology Institute at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“We are very proud of Blake. I had the fortune of having Blake as a student when I was principal of the Intermediate School. He was a great student then. He has continued to excel in the classroom,” Siler noted.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin nominated McCullah for the program.
- Approved the Gear Up Grant memorandum of agreement. The grant will provide $90,000 in direct aid to 10th and 11th grade students to help cover such things as tutoring, job shadowing and college visits.
“We are grateful to have that grant,” Siler added.
- Approved a historical field trip for Oak Grove Elementary School students that will take them on a trip to Boston and New York.