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Tax hearing is for public feedback

The Clark County Board of Education will have a public hearing Aug. 31 to discuss the possibility of raising tax rates on real and personal property.

The proposed rate would increase rates to 64 cents per $100 of assessed value, from its 2016-17 rate of 62.2 cents, which is anticipated to increase district revenues by 4 percent.

The 4 percent increase is the maximum the board may take without needing a referendum. However, board members may ultimately select a rate lower than the one addressed during the hearing, which is why it is imperative that taxpayers play an active role in this decision-making process.

There is no doubt tax revenue spent on education is money well spent.

Clark County’s students have opportunities that many students across the state do not, thanks to a higher tax base and a board that has, in recent years, been cognizant of budgeting and responsible with spending.

Even with various new schools and other capital projects on the agenda, the Clark County Board of Education stands in a good place financially.

However, there is still much work to be done to bring our district up to par with other districts in the region, particularly those of similar student-population size. That work, whether it be raising teacher salaries, renovating more school facilities or providing better curriculum resources to students and staff, will come at a cost.

With estimated reductions in state SEEK funding of more than $400,000, it is understandable that the board will need to look at other ways to generate revenue and offset its expenses.

However, as a taxing district with elected officials on its board, the taxpayers should and can have an active voice in deciding if they are willing to foot the bill for these projects.

A public tax hearing is an opportunity for the people to make their voice heard and talk about why they do or do not support a tax increase. Many would think everyone would be against raising taxes, but you might be surprised to find that there are varying opinions on the matter.

A responsible elected official would heavily consider their constituents’ concerns.

The decision may ultimately have to come down to what is best for the board and district financially, but at least the taxpayers have the freedom to voice their opinions.

And the school board is not the only taxing district that is required by law to host these public hearings.

We encourage you, as taxpayers and citizens, to attend these meetings and be active in the decisions made about the community. Active participation in government decision-making is a freedom and right that shouldn’t be taken for granted.