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Decision on school tax levy vote
expected to be made Jan. 9

32-cent hike in
tax rate discussed

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

The Park Hill Board of Education will vote Jan. 9 on a resolution for a proposed 32-cent levy increase to help raise money for the district's new Future Learner Program, known as FLiP, as well as building projects throughout the district.

Should a majority of the seven-member board of education support the tax initiative and approve the language of the ballot question, the measure could end up before voters as early as April 8, the next general municipal Election Day.

The current Park Hill school tax levy, which includes the debt service fund levy and operating levy, is 5.5324 per $100 valuation. The suggested 32-cent levy would hike the operating portion of the tax levy from 4.9217 to 5.2417.

The debt service fund levy is fixed at $0.6107 per $100 assessed valuation.

The debt service fund levy is determined based on the repayment schedule for indebtedness and is exempt from the imposed tax rate ceiling.
Adding an additional 32 cents would make the total overall levy $5.8524.

According to the district's proposed funding strategy report, the proposed 32-cent levy would cost property owners with a home valued at $200,000 an additional $37 during the 2015 fiscal year, $55 during the 2016 fiscal year, $78 during the 2017 fiscal year, and $122 during the 2018 fiscal year.

The financial impact to homeowners actually increases over time since the program is implemented over a five-year period.

The measure would require a simple majority (2/3%) to pass. The language of the potential ballot question may read:

“Shall the Park Hill School District of Platte County, Missouri be authorized to increase the adjusted operating tax levy of the District to $5.2417 per $100 of assessed valuation, and to use such funds for the operation, maintenance and improvement of school facilities including funding technology improvements to implement the District's One to One Initiative and improve safety measures in all school facilities?

If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating tax levy of the district is estimated to increase 32 cents from $4.9217 currently to $5.2417 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation.”

The FLiP program, first implemented throughout the district's fifth grade classrooms during the 2013-2014 school year, was funded through reserves. A recent evaluation of the FLiP program indicates those surveyed report higher levels of problem solving, communication, and creativity.

School officials say the money generated from the proposed 32-cent levy increase will go toward teacher training and technological devices related to FLiP.

District officials also say the proposed 32-cent levy increase may provide funding to beef up school safety by making it possible to make the recommended safety improvements outlined in a recent safety audit. Additional security cameras, audio-visual phone systems, upgraded intercom system, interior and exterior door replacement, push bottom classroom door locks, police radio and public channels, as well as the reformation of the front entryway at both high schools are listed as potential needs in the safety audit.

While exploring different sources of revenue to fund the Future Learner Program, the district made a $12,463,862 reduction in district expenditures since 2011. A reduction in legal fees, the refinancing of 2004 bond debt, a reduction of employee overtime, a reduction of travel, and the redesign model for general liability coverage are listed as cost savings. Data suggest that the expenditures per average daily attendee have dropped slightly since 2010.

The Park Hill Board of Education will vote on whether to put the measure on the ballot during the Jan. 9, 2014 meeting.