(Harlan) The Harlan Community School Board will hold a public hearing tonight on the schools next fiscal years budget, showing a significant reduction in its’ tax levy. The district’s tax asking is $700, 000 lower than the previous budget. The combination of general fund, management fund, and Physical Plant and Equipment fund levies will total $12.57 per $1,000.00 of valuation. This is substantially lower than the current year’s $15.42 per 1,000 taxable valuation.
Harlan Community Schools Superintendent Justin Wagoner says there are several reasons for the lower budget.” The first reason is that Shelby County Land valuations are up about 8-percent which obviously helps us.”
The second reason is the funding formula. “This is really where you see that chunk of money. The funding formula has changed this year. In the past you could have up to 25-percent of your overall budget in your cash reserve. The change in the formula is that now you have to 20-percent and that means about $750,000 for us. We have had a healthy reserve so we need to spend that down before we can levy any of the dollars.”
Wagoner says the third reason is the school district’s frugal spending practice. “We are saying no to some things that we have said yes to in the past and those aren’t always fun things. But, at the same time we want to remain focused on our primary goal and that is to educate kids so we are really trying to balance that piece.”
Commercial property owners could see an estimated $286.00 decrease in taxes, (based on a $100,000 valuation). Ag property owners with an assessed valuation of $600,000 will see an estimated tax decrease of $800.00 per year.
The major tax levy decrease also includes a 4.27 percent overall package increase next year for certified staff. The package increase will cost the school an additional $351,313.00. The base salary increase for teachers will be increased to $950.00.
The school board meets at 4:30 this afternoon.
April 2, 2012