School board votes to keep tax rate for 2018-19

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Clark County Board of Education approved the tax rate (3-1-1) for the 2018-19 fiscal year to stay the same as the current rate.

Board member Judy Hicks moved to approve the following rates for 2018-19: real estate at 62.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, personal property at 62.2 cents, motor vehicles at 53.5 cents; and a utility tax rate of 3 percent.

Board chair Scott Hisle and board members Judy Hicks and Michael Kuduk voted in favor of the rates. Board member Ashley Ritchie opposed, and Gordon Parido abstained. The approval came after two failed motions.

Parido made a motion to approve a 4-percent revenue increase on both real estate and personal property rates, but the motion failed, 2-3, with Hicks, Kuduk and Hisle opposed.

Parido said he was in support of the 4-percent revenue increase because the additional generated revenue would help the district compete with Fayette County.

He said Clark County Public Schools had made vast improvements, but needs to continue to move forward instead of remaining the same.

“We play both sides of the fence when the district asks for five resource officers, and we only give three because we’re not sure if we have the budget,” Parido said. “When we ask for a raise for teachers, we get voted against because we don’t have enough money in the budget, but when it comes to tax time, all of sudden we’re concerned that we have plenty of money in the budget.”

Hisle also motioned to approve a real estate tax rate of 62.4 cents per $100 of assessed, personal property at 63.7 cents, motor vehicles at 53.5 cents; and a utility tax rate of 3 percent. The motion died for lack of a second.

Hisle said he was hoping for a compromise.

“We’re always trying to balance the needs of our taxpayers, the needs of the school district, and students and staff, etc.,” Hisle said.

Hicks, who made the motion that was ultimately approved, said the district has a healthy contingency, so she was in favor of the tax rates remaining the same.

“As long as we have a $10 million contingency, I am not going to vote for additional increases,” Hicks said. “I’m comfortable with leaving the tax rates as they currently are.”

A public hearing was held before the meeting; however, only one member of the community signed up during the hearing to discuss their comments or ask questions about the tax rates before the special meeting.

The board advertised its tax rate public hearing in The Sun twice for two consecutive weeks per a Kentucky statute before the meeting.

Director of Finance Aleisha Ellis said in a previous meeting, CCPS currently has a deficiency of $688,641 in part because of an earlier decision by the board to increase salaries for CCPS staff. She recommended a 3-percent or 4-percent revenue increase to allow for CCPS to break even on its deficient funds.

According to last year’s average, CCPS has a 97.23 percent collection rate which it deposits into its general fund account.

In a draft advertisement, the board stated it would commit about $55,000 of its collected funds for building, $100,000 for safety and about $416,000 for instruction. These numbers are minimum commitments from its tax rates collections and do not limit CCPS spending to these amounts in these areas.