- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Citing a reduction in funds due to the federal sequestration, the Owen County Board of Education has voted to raise its tax rate.
The board voted unanimously to take a 4-percent increase which will amount to an additional $19 per $100,000 of assessed property.
A public hearing was held Thursday to discuss a possible rate increase with only one member of the community in attendance.
Kathy Faulkner, who had been serving as the district’s interim finance officer until she was hired for the role full time in July, presented the board with a slide show that highlighted the effects the federal decrease in funding will have on the district.
According to Faulkner, federal funding makes up 14 percent of the district’s revenue. Those funds are distributed throughout six different programs.
Funding for five of those six programs decreased for the 2013-2014 school year by 3 percent or more.
Since the 2011-12 school year, the total federal programs allocation has decreased by 7 percent.
The federal sequestration, a Congressional mandate for massive federal spending cuts, could continue until 2021.
By taking a 4-percent tax increase, Faulkner said the board would be readying itself for the future.
“The federal sequestration is really going to be felt,” Faulkner said during the meeting. “You want to be prepared for the future and build up your general fund a little. These cuts are severe and they’re going to continue to be severe. You want to be prepared for that.”
The 4-percent increase will also save five to six teaching positions and keep classrooms at a manageable size, Faulkner said.
Although the district has taken a 4-percent increase in all but two years since the 2001-2002 school year, Owen County had the fourth lowest tax rate of any surrounding district in 2012-2013, including Frankfort and Williamstown school districts.
Walton Independent Schools had the highest tax rate of the surrounding districts in 2012-2013, at 100.6.
Scott County Schools had the lowest rate at 45.3.
Owen County School Superintendent Rob Stafford said there have been decreases at both the federal and state level over the last few years.
“Obviously we’re gonna have to offset the loss of federal funds with the revenue we can generate locally,” Stafford said.