School Board approves tax rate increase

After hearing from citizens and discussion at Thursday’s meeting, the Christian County School Board approved a property tax rate increase.

A public hearing was held before the regularly scheduled board meeting and Wynn Radford spoke in favor of the increase, saying the education of children is worth a tax increase.

Alethea West told the board that if they were going to approve it, then she expects to see a marked improvement in students who can perform at the appropriate level.

Superintendent Mary Ann Gemmill urged for board members to take the increase, saying it’s her intention to use the money generated from it to reinstate the STEP increase for teachers next year.

The STEP increases, which are pay raises that teachers receive each year, were frozen for this school year by the school board in an attempt to balance the budget when facing decreases to SEEK funding. Gemmill says the board has had to make many hard decisions this year to keep the school system solvent and providing services for students.

The increase from 41.6 cents per $100 of assessed value to 42.8 cents on real property and personal property was approved 4 to 1, with Lindsey Clark being the only ‘no’ vote. This means an extra $12 annual on the property tax bill of the owner of a $100,000 home. The hike is expected to generate about $582,000 more in revenue than the previous year.