Property owners in Warren County will get a break from a tax rate increase this year after the Warren County Public Schools Board of Education decided Monday to keep the rate unchanged at 46.1 cents per $100 of real and personal property.
The board could have chosen to raise the rate to 46.6 cents for real and personal property, a move that would have translated to a 4 percent tax revenue increase through that rate. However, after several people spoke against a tax increase at the meeting, board member Garry Chaffin motioned to keep the rate the same. The motion passed unanimously.
“We don’t just spend money willy-nilly,” Chaffin said, responding to critics of the proposed rate hike by highlighting the district’s efforts to cut fixed costs.
Many of those who spoke against a rate increase said their school property tax bills are among their most expensive and contended the growth in property valuations this year should suffice.
Chaffin touted the district’s efforts to modernize school buildings and improve their energy efficiency and said those efforts have saved $15 million to $20 million. Changes to school times have helped save more than $600,000 a year, WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton said.
“Warren County Public Schools is one of the most efficient schools, operationally, in the state of Kentucky,” Clayton said.
At the same time, Chaffin said, the state has gradually shifted the cost of funding schools to local property taxpayers by passing new mandates that don’t come with additional funding to implement them.
“Unfortunately, our state continues to cut what we get,” Chaffin said.
Board Chairman Kerry Young echoed that message.
He said that since 1990, the state’s share of school funding has fallen from more than two-thirds to now about 60 percent.
Meanwhile, the Bowling Green Independent School District’s Board of Education voted Monday to keep the district’s property tax rate at the rate set last year: 84.5 cents per $100 of real and personal property, Superintendent Gary Fields told the Daily News. That vote was unanimous.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.