Boyd school board approves slight tax rate increase

Aug. 23—CANNONSBURG — The Boyd County School Board voted to increase real estate and tangible property tax rates 0.4 cents for the 2023-24 school year at a regular meeting on Tuesday evening.

Boyd County District Finance Director Scott Burchett gave the cost breakdown to those in attendance, saying the increase, although small, would help the school system offset costs with prior COVID relief funds, possibly, before the end of this school year.

Burchett said last year's property tax rates was 67.7 cents per $100 of valuation and his proposed hike was 68.5 cents per $100.

Burchett reported last year's collection rate for general property tax was a great 99.6% and 86.8% for tangible property.

While the current collection rate was fine, percentages for tangible property varies, according to Burchett, as companies and corporations can appeal to the Department of Revenue, which places collection on hold, only for them to be collected at a later time; Burchett said the school budgets for roughly 90% collection.

The school has offset costs by utilizing the sheriff's department for collection, too, Burchett said, as the school doesn't have the hassle of issuing bills and following up. "It's a major undertaking to do that," Burchett said.

According to the annual financial report filed at the end of July, the school's tax assessment for this year is $1.25 billion for real property. Taxable income will bring in $376 million and $281 million collected for motor vehicles.

The board voted to keep the motor vehicle tax at 54.7 cents per $100 of valuation — Burchett said the rate has been fixed at that amount for at least 20 years.

Burchett said there are two rates to look at every year.

"One is called the compensating rate. What that does, that tells you the amount of money we collected last year from property taxes, they figure this is the rate that would get you the same amount — this current school year," Burchett said.

"The 4% increase rate, people get confused, it's not a 4% in the tax rate itself, it's a 4% increase in revenue from the previous school year," Burchett added.

The 4% rate increase for the compensating rate will garner the school system an additional $375,000, per Burchett.

"All of those COVID relief funds that we've had in the past, they go away at the end of this year ... they'll be gone," Burchett said.

Although the funds have been utilized efficiently, including purchasing new text books and implementing "at least eight" interventionist teachers as a way to catch up students falling behind in certain subjects with one-on-one help.

Burchett predicted the average cost of instructional interventionists was $75,000 and added the schools hoped to keep at least one teacher in each elementary school in the coming year.

Burchett proposed increasing last year's rate of 67.7 cents to 68.5 cents will cause a $12 yearly increase for those owning a home worth $100,000 and a $500,000 homeowner will see $40 more collected for the entire year.

"It's not a huge jump in any regards," Burchett said.

Burchett also asked the board to consider SEEK funds — which are based on average daily attendance — saying the school system was seeing a reduction of $170,000 from last year's attendance funds, adding this anticipated loss was another reason for the increase to help offset any lost funds.

"If we don't do it now ... then you lose that money forever. Next year it might even be more of an increase than it is now," Burchett said.

The board unanimously voted to implement the small, but potentially compensating, rate.

The school board will reconvene to discuss a working budget on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.

In other events:

—Boyd County Public Information Officer Matt Spade said with the closing of Ramey-Estep, some funding from the Department of Education would cease.

However, since Ramey did have students last year, the school system received money to apply to Boyd County Central for the coming school year.

—The board recognized Cammi Kersey with Boyd County Alumni Supporting Teachers for raising funds to give to teachers to furnish their classrooms with supplies.

Kersey said the group delivered nearly $25,000 to 46 teachers to cover costs that typically would come out of their own pockets.

Kersey added she expects the group to continue fundraising with aspirations of giving even more in the coming years.

—The board unanimously approved the donation of two buses to the East Fork Fire Department and one bus to McGuire's Towing.

Superintendent Bill Boblett said after placing the buses for bids with no takers, the buses would be donated to aid the fire department for accident reconstruction and training and to McGuire's Towing to train the best ways to aid in the towing and recovery of buses if the need arises.

—The board approved a recommendation from Boyd County High School Principal Ben Fritz to implement AP pre-calculus for a college readiness program beginning at the start of the school year.

—The board approved the annual Catlettsburg High School all-class reunion to be held on Sept. 1 and 2 at the school.