Bardstown City Schools approves tax revenue increase

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By Kacie Goode

The Bardstown Independent Schools Board of Education has approved the 4 percent increase in revenue as proposed Aug. 1. With the increase in revenue, the rates will be 81.4 cents per $100 for real estate and personal property with a 0.1 cent added to recover prior year losses due to exoneration. Motor vehicles remain the same at 53.1.

At its Aug. 1 special-called meeting to discuss taxes, the board was told the rate is anticipated to produce $9,542,795.84 in revenue, of which around $2.7 million would come from new and personal property. Additionally, $1.9 million, would be required to be transferred to the building fund, which cannot be used for instruction, salaries or utilities.

Director of Human Resources Joey Downs cited a step raise in the salary schedule, an increase in workers’ compensation and property and liability insurance, an increase in the district’s Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System contribution, and state funding among reasons for pursuing the increase. Downs said Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding continues to decrease.

The district held a public hearing at 6 p.m. Aug. 14, which only one person, Patricia Murray Boone, attended. A former teacher and current substitute, Boone told the board the increase is a hardship and burden for taxpayers and families trying to make ends meet and suggested the board would find instances where money could be better applied.

Another resident showed up shortly after the meeting had adjourned looking to talk with district personnel about the taxes. He also opposed the rate increase.

Prior to the increase approval at the district’s regular meeting at noon Tuesday, the floor was reopened for any comment or discussion, but there were no guests. Many indicated on social media, however, that they were upset with the increase.

The district has taken a 4 percent increase in revenue every year since at least 2011, when the rates were raised to 67.5 cents per $100 of assessed value on personal and real property. Last year was an exception, when a 3 percent increase in revenue was chosen.

In other news

• The board entered into an executive session and upon returning to open session, a motion was made to approve the creation of a committee that would receive health services presentations for the district’s in-school clinic.

“We are opening this back up to see if there are other health service providers that might be interested in working with our school system,” Superintendent Brent Holsclaw said.

The in-school clinic, since its creation last year, has been a partnership with Physicians to Children.

Also after returning to open session, a motion was made to authorize Holsclaw to represent the board in negotiations related to an outstanding Equal Employment Opportunity case with the Kentucky Commission of Human Rights and a former classified employee.

• approved Central Kentucky Head Start agreements.

• presented awards to school principals following a “sweep” in school categories for The Kentucky Standard’s Best Of competition.

• announced CPA Jason Strange would again conduct the district’s audit, but has moved to a new employer, Styles, Carter & Associates.

• heard from Trevean Hall, who took part in Kentucky Boys State, as well as three of Bardstown’s four Governor’s Scholars about their summer experiences.