According to media reports collected to date by the KSBA eNews Service, the majority of Kentucky’s local boards of education believe their schools need additional revenues, and that the responsibility rests with them to provide that funding for the coming year.
As of Sept. 16, 42 of the 65 local boards raised tax rates this fall in decisions reported by local news media outlets. Of those actions:
* 27 boards voted to take the maximum 4 percent revenue increase allowed by state statute without being subject to voter recall.
* 16 boards chose to take the state-calculated compensating rate – which could mean a higher or lower tax rate and is estimated to produce the same amount of local revenues as collected in the 2012-13 tax year.
* 15 boards voted to raise their tax rates anywhere from as low as 1 cent to just under the 4 percent maximum – the level which also would have required a public hearing.
* Eight boards opted for no change in the property tax rate for 2014.
Additionally, an unusually high number of boards – five – voted to pass a special nickel tax to support facility needs. Those acts are subject to voter petition to force a special referendum on the issue.
All local boards are expected to have adopted their 2014 tax rates by the end of this month. Districts will report their proposed rates to the Kentucky Board of Education for approval. Those actions typically take place at the KBE’s October, December and January meetings – the latter dates covering challenged rates and other special situations.
Last year, KDE reported 76 local boards took the 4 percent maximum revenue increase; 66 adopted the compensating rate; and 32 passed rates that represented no change up to just under the 4 percent revenue growth maximum.