Dress rehearsal yields little resistance
Kentucky School Advocate
By Madelynn Coldiron
When the Raceland-Worthington Independent school board approved a nickel tax in 2015 to support construction of a new school to replace a circa-1927 building, it did not meet a public outcry, much less a recall petition.
One person called the county clerk’s office to ask about a petition, Superintendent Larry Coldiron Jr. said, but that was the end of it.
Coldiron likes to think it’s because the district had a dry run a few years earlier, when the board moved to set a tax rate that would generate a 4 percent increase in revenues. At that time, some taxpayers showed up at the board meeting to ask questions, but the session ended with attendees shaking hands with board members and the superintendent.
“We answered their questions – we met for a very long time where everybody could say their piece and speak,” Coldiron said. “The community felt comfortable enough – they understood where we were coming from, they understood what was happening at the time in Frankfort with the cuts and so forth, unfunded mandates.
“So when it came time for the nickel tax, that group of people didn’t really show up.”
Coldiron said he thinks it’s because those residents were comfortable with the board team and “knew we were going to do what’s best for the kids and the community.”
However, that didn’t mean there was no reaction at all. The board’s nickel tax vote drew people who were in favor of the measure, and some who wanted to ask questions, the superintendent said. It wasn’t the first time the district had looked at a nickel tax, either, since it offered the only avenue for building the new school.
Coldiron said district leaders “ramped up” efforts to get out information on the need for the nickel tax and talked to the teaching staff so they could also spread the message. The upshot is that the district expects to advertise for bids for a replacement for Worthington Elementary School around May 1.
“We’re lucky enough we’re a very small community and in our community the school is the center. We’re very fortunate that people were willing to pay that extra nickel,” the superintendent said.