Tuesday, June 06, 2006

School board looks at another tax increase

I don't know when the voters of Springfield are going to wake up. Every time a tax increase is passed onto the taxpayer do you walk into your bosses office and request a pay raise in the same amount equilevant to all the increases?

As a business owner it is quite difficult to pass on these increases since in some regards you will lose more business by doing this. I don't know how long the American taxpayer is going to put up with constant revenue demands by local, state, and federal government branches. I'm beyond the point of tolerating them which is why I decided to run for political office so changes can be made.

We collected over 7000 signatures to have the city of Springfield audited, but the education system in this town is exempt from that audit. We only required 5000 verifiable city residents registered to vote to sign. I believe we have more than enough for Claire McCaskills office to certify this and start looking into the expenditures of this city to find out where 215 million dollars on an annual basis is going.
Of course some of the local media outlets are doing there best to misinform the people, but that is to be expected since they are all part of the same network which gave us a $100,000.00 street paved with bricks outside of a building owned by our very own Tommy Carlson. Can you say PRIVILEDGED TREATMENT? I would like to have my street repaired since it floods out when it rains, I won't hold my breathe.

The cost of this audit is going to be $.53 for every man, woman, and child residing within the city limits. It is costing us almost $1400.00 for every man, woman, and child to sit on our hands and do nothing.

It is time to change government and the taxpayers choice is
candidate for the 139th district

Members want more money for 2006-07 budget.

By Cory de Vera

Voters shouldn't be surprised that their Springfield Public Schools taxes go up this year.

They did, after all, approve a $96.5 million bond issue, which will be paid with an 18-cent jump in the debt service rate.

Reliable Imports
But if the school board goes through with its current plans, the total increase could be as high as 25 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That's because members are considering using their authority to increase the operating tax 5 to 7 cents to balance the proposed 2006-07 budget.

In board discussions at public meetings last month, the plan drew little to no opposition.

Board member Bruce Renner said he supports the increase because it means the district will be able to add teachers, reducing class size.

"I really felt like we needed that," he said.

Other budget additions will include expanding pre-school programs, adding the A+ Program at Kickapoo and Hillcrest high schools, and training for a new curricular approach at Pipkin Middle School.

An increase of 5 to 7 cents on the operating tax rate would raise $1.6 million for the district and cost the owner of a $100,000 home between $9.50 and $13.30. Along with the 18-cent increase on the debt service tax rate, that same homeowner could see a jump of $47.50 over what he or she paid in school taxes on 2005's property tax bill.

Director of Financial Services Cherie Alderson told the News-Leader the increase is a possibility, but the board won't know whether it will need to invoke the increase until all the books are closed on the 2005-06 school year later this year. The board must pass the 2006-07 budget before July 1.


Voters actually did approve an operating tax rate of up to $3.14 cents in June 2004, when they approved a two-phase operating tax increase. The first phase was a 15-cent jump that went into effect on the 2004 tax bill. The second phase, a 10-cent hike, was authorized to go into effect on the 2005 tax bill.

But in August, 2005 the board learned that property assessments had grown faster than anticipated, and collecting that full increase would produce more revenue than they told taxpayers during the 2004 campaign.

They were anticipating collecting $6.2 million, but had they imposed the full 25-cent hike, they would have collected closer to $9.8 million. So instead of collecting the approved increase, they rolled the operating tax rate back to $3.

Now, Renner says, the district needs some of that rollback.

"I feel we are providing everything we promised voters at less than the amount they approved," he said. "Even at 5 to 7 cents more, that is less than they approved."


Resident Ann Grace came to a board meeting last summer to argue against last year's rollback. The fact that the rate is going up again does not bother her.

"I thought it was silly that they dropped it down," said Grace, who at the time headed a committee to raise money for unmet needs at Parkview High.

"I thought they had enough commitments that they really didn't need to go rolling it back."

Resident Mel Hall came to the board last summer to plead for a restoration of transportation. She said she's disappointed that the board still isn't considering it a priority.

"I have to drive my son to school, we can't afford to pay the fees," said Hall, the single mom of a student at Study Middle School.

"It's hard to find a place to park, and it is dangerous the way people fly through there. I don't see how the school system is so unconcerned about busing issues," she said.

Beginning with the 2002-03 school year, the district kicked more than 2,000 elementary and middle school children off buses when it changed eligibility for bus service from those living farther than one mile from school to those living farther than 1.5 miles from school. The move was expected to save $421,000 a year. If space is available, a family can pay to ride.

Renner said he is concerned about safety and a new transportation director is reviewing policies. Current policy, Renner said, considers mileage only, and in most cases does not make allowances for children who must cross major roads.

"I don't think anything will change by fall, but I think as the new director gets in there, he will see what he can do," said Renner.

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