Daviess Co. leaders lay out plans to sell third nickel facilities tax to community, including board vote not to take 4% revenue hike when setting 2018 property tax rates

Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, April 25, 2017

DCPS to host trio of May forums on third nickel tax
By Bobbie Hayse

Daviess County Public Schools is looking at two major construction projects that the district's Leadership Planning Committee and the Kentucky Department of Education have deemed essential for the district.

During the April 20 regular school board meeting, Superintendent Owens Saylor briefed the board about the LPC's findings in regards to facilities planning. At the centerpiece of its plan approved by the state board of education this month are Apollo High School and Daviess County Middle School.

The construction of a new DCMS will cost the district $30 million, and the significant renovations at AHS will run around $20 million, Saylor said.

During that meeting, the board of education voted to enact a resolution for a third nickel tax that would provide the district with not only more funding for these construction projects, but also more bonding capacity.

Assistant Superintendent Matt Robbins said during the meeting that the district's facilities plan "has $65 million of unmet need," and that its current bonding capacity is $20 million.

The third nickel, commonly referred to as the facilities nickel, alone will increase the bonding capacity for the district to $61.2 million, Robbins said.

"To this point, every district that has levied a facilities nickel, it has ultimately been equalized and matched by the state legislature," Robbins said.

When state funding is factored into the mix, district bonding capacity will then be $80.7 million, he said.

"There is state money being left in Frankfort because we are not levying this nickel," he said.

Board member Dale Stewart asked Robbins if, to his knowledge, other districts who have initiated a third nickel did receive the matched state funding, and Robbins said yes.

"What you have to do is make your legislatures aware," Saylor said.

Saylor said Monday that every year, by law, school boards can raise the tax rate by 4 percent. However, for the 2018 fiscal year, DCPS has voted not to do that but to instead focus on the third nickel.

Also by law, an ad will be placed next Monday in the Messenger-Inquirer, Saylor said, which will detail how the tax rate with the third nickel will be set.

Forums will be at 6 p.m. May 2 at DCMS, 1415 E. Fourth St.; and at 6 p.m. May 8 at AHS, 2280 Tamarack Road. Tours will be offered during the forums so the district can talk about the facility needs.

There will also be a public hearing at 5 p.m. May 16 at the central office before this tax is levied.

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