The Christian County Board of Education took no action Thursday night regarding paying for a potential special election on the proposed ‘nickel tax’ rate increase, but seeking private funding remains a possibility.
Superintendent Mary Ann Gemmill again stated her reason for recommending the special election instead of waiting until November, as the wait would eliminate the possibility of getting the new tax rate on property tax bills that go out in October.
Revenue from the increase would service the debt on the construction of a new academic building at Hopkinsville High School.
Board member Jeff Moore and Chairperson Linda Keller addressed criticism the Board and School District have received on social media and elsewhere, with Keller apologizing to Superintendent Gemmill for critiques of her salary that Keller believes are unfair.
No board member voiced support for spending $70,000 out of the general fund to pay for a special election, but Tom Bell asked if private fundraising is a possibility if there’s support in the community. Board Attorney Jack Lackey, Jr. said he knew of no reason why there’d be a problem with a community paying for a special election and Keller said after the meeting that’s something they could explore.
Waiting until the November general election would not cost any additional funds.
The necessity of a public vote on the tax has yet to be confirmed, as the Christian County Clerk’s Office continues validating and counting signatures on the petitions submitted by Citizens Right to Vote on Tax Increases. Organizers have said they’re confident there will be enough.
In other action, the School Board renewed contracts with the Hopkinsville Police Department and Christian County Sheriff’s Office to provide school resource officers—with HPD upping its fee by about $25,000 due to pension costs.
Nurse Supervisor Megan Kidd says there have been about 59,500 visits to school nurses so far this school year and Transportation Director Mike Brumley says bus drivers will have driven a total of 2 million miles by the time the year ends.