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School board sets tax rate

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By Linda Ireland and Rebecca Roscoe

For the seventh year in a row, the LaRue County School Board voted Monday to adopt the compensating rate or less for property taxes.

The compensating rate, when applied to current year’s property assessment, produces an amount of revenue equal to that produced in the preceding year.

The board could have levied as much as 4 percent more than the amount of revenue produced by the compensating rate. The 4 percent levy could be added after a hearing but is not subject to recall.

“There was about $100,000 difference in revenue between taking the compensating vs. the 4 percent rate,” said Superintendent Sam Sanders.

“This may be the last year we are able to take the compensating rate because of all the state (and possible federal) revenue loss with sequestration.”

One year the board approved a rate lower than the compensating rate.

The board voted unanimously Monday to change the tax rate from 44.9 cents per $100 to 45.3 cents per $100 assessed value on real estate and tangibles.

“Many districts across Kentucky are now taking the 4 percent rate because of all the cuts school districts have taken over the past several years (and continue to take). Sequestration (cutbacks), on the federal level, will be a devastating blow to all school districts. If something doesn’t change very soon, you will see personnel cuts across every school district in Kentucky,” said Sanders.

The district has some of the lowest property tax rates in the state, said Sanders.

“Out of 173 districts we’re 130th,” said Sanders. “Only 43 other districts have rates that are lower than LaRue. We should consider ourselves lucky.”

The new tax rates were set as follows:

  • Real estate – 45.3 cents per $100 assessed value
  • Tangibles – 45.3 cents per $100 assessed value
  • Motor vehicles – 55.2 cents per $100 assessed value
  • Utility – 3 percent of receipts

The real estate and tangible taxes generated $2.5 million last year and will bring in the roughly the same this year.

Motor vehicle taxes brought in close to $450,000 last year and are calculated to bring in just over $432,000 for this year.

Sanders stated the revenue for this year would roughly be the same as last years, once costs are factored in.

In other business:
The board approved a change in grading policy to increase the final exam weight for all courses from 15 to 20 percent of student grades.

“We started off with a 10 percent weight which was below the state recommendation and then we went to 15 percent. It will not go higher than 20 percent unless something changes with state requirements,” said Sanders.