By Rob McDaniel
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
In a special called meeting Friday, the Laurel County Board of Education voted to have a public hearing for comments regarding a proposed general tax fund levy.
Board member Charles “Bud” Stuber made the motion for the board to hold the hearing and the motion passed unanimously.
In a public notice/advertisement, the Laurel County Board of Education said they would discuss the following in an open public hearing:
“The Laurel County Board of Education will hold a public hearing in the Laurel County Board of Education Central Office Board Room, located at 718 N. Main St., London, Ky., on Sept. 18, 2013 at 5 p.m. to hear public comments regarding a proposed general fund tax levy of 48.8 cents on real property and 48.8 cents on personal property.
The General Fund tax levied in fiscal year 2013 was 47 cents on real property and 47 cents on personal property and produced a revenue of $12,194,498.32. The proposed General Fund tax rate of 48.8 cents on real property and 48.8 cents on personal property is expected to produce $12,829,446.09. Of this amount, $1,946,262.19 is from new and personal property. The compensating tax for 2014 is 47 cents on real property and 47 cents on personal property and is expected to produce $12,356,228.81.
The General Areas to which revenue of $634,947.77 above 2013 revenue is to be allocated are as follows: cost of collections, $12,851.34; building fund, $0; instruction, $622,096.43; transportation $0, and maintenance of plant, $0.
The General Assembly has required publication of this hearing.”
Dr. Doug Bennett, superintendent of Laurel County schools, said the board has made every attempt to save money, but needs to look into additional revenue sources.
“We’ve made all the cuts we can,” Bennett said. “If we cut any further, we’re going to be cutting straight through the bone, and we can’t do that. We’ve exhausted all other means of saving money for the district and we want to get the public’s opinion on the situation before any type of decision is made.
“What we did today isn’t anything official. All we’re wanting to do here is hear what the public has to say about the idea of a 4 percent revenue increase.”
According to Bennett, the revenue increase for the district would come from property taxes and would go towards district needs such as textbooks, special education and preschool.
Bennett said there were several reasons the district was having budget problems, but specifically credited an increase in insurance premiums.
“Costs have gone up,” Bennett said. “Our insurance provider reassessed all the districts and determined that every district owes more in insurances premiums. Premiums in Laurel County increased by $1 million.”
Bennett said there were other financial issues that spurred the need to discuss a possible increase in revenue for schools and he and the board would be discussing those issues in full during the public hearing.
The public hearing will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the Laurel County Board of Education Central Office board room.