Until the state provides additional funding, local school districts will face an increasing financial burden, Franklin County Schools Superintendent Mark Kopp said Tuesday, one day after the county’s board of education raised taxes.
The board increased the tax rate by 2 cents from 69.5 to 71.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on both real estate and tangible personal property. The motor vehicle rate remains 51 cents per $100, the same it has been since 1983.
“I am proud of the board for taking the tax increase,” Kopp said. “None of us want to pay more taxes, but until the state steps up with funding, the burden is being placed more and more on school districts.”
Franklin County Schools wasn’t the only district to increase its tax rate. The Frankfort Independent Schools Board of Education on Monday voted to increase its tax rate to 96.5 cents per $100 in valuation, which is expected to generate a little more than $30,000 in additional funding.
With the tax increase in place, the Franklin County school board also approved a 1 percent pay raise for all staff, increased its per-pupil allocations to schools and OK’d a working budget.
The pay raise will cost $326,429 and is the second 1 percent pay raise the board has approved this year — in its effort to attract and retain talented team members in Franklin County.
“We needed to step up and one of the best ways to do that is to pay them what they are worth,” Kopp said, adding the school system needs to stay competitive with neighboring districts, some of which pay their employees considerably more. “It was important for us to do this.”
The board also upped the amount of Section 6 school allocations from $120 to $139.34 per pupil. Section 6 funding is used on instructional supplies, materials, travel, equipment and other instructional necessities.
Kopp was also optimistic about the working budget that was approved by the board Monday. Per statute, the board is required to submit the working budget to the Kentucky Department of Education by Sept. 30.
“There were a few changes that were made since May,” he said of the tentative working budget that the school board OK’d in the spring. “Overall, I feel really good about it.”
The working budget, which is balanced, includes nearly $1 million in total funds (excluding construction and trust/agency) over last year’s actual totals.
Revenue in the working budget includes general fund ($45.8 million), special revenue fund ($5.5 million), facility building fund ($4.7 million), food service fund ($3.4 million), after school program fund ($2 million) and capital outlay fund ($574,410) for a total of $62.1 million.
The largest of the expenditures ($32.6 million) is salaries/personnel services, followed by employee benefits ($4.1 million) supplies ($3.5 million), debt service and misc. ($1.8 million), purchased professional and technology services ($1.3 million), purchased property services ($853,360), other purchased services ($788,097) and property ($594,841) for a total of $45.5 million.
The next meeting of the FCS board is a work session set for 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at Bondurant Middle School.