On the April 6 ballot, there will be a question that is deceptive and will secretly raise our taxes. If passed, the Metropolitan Community College-Kansas City will annex the following school districts: Platte County R-3, Kearney R-I, Smithville R-II, Liberty Public Schools, Grain Valley R-IV, Oak Grove R-VI, Harrisonville R-IX, and Raymore-Peculiar R-II school districts.
The ballot language for our district is as follows: “For the purpose of providing greater affordable access to quality higher education by providing in-district tuition rates for residents within the Platte County R-3 School District, shall the Platte County R-3 School District be attached to The Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri, effective the 22nd day of April 2021? Vote YES or NO.”
The resolution proposed by this junior college intends to offer reduced tuition rates by raising our property and real estate taxes. A state statute gives them sole authority to do this if the voters approve. These taxes are raised by adding an additional tax levy of $0.2128 assessed value per $100.
For example, if your home is appraised at $150,000, you will pay an additional $61 per year. Again, there is no mention of a tax increase in the ballot question. This is deceptive.
I assume the tax will benefit a small number of students going to this local college. But for most taxpayers, like seniors or those who have selected other colleges for their children, there is no benefit for Platte County property holders to subsidize this junior college.
The public deserves a full accounting of how this tax revenue will be spent. Does R-3 agree with the annexation? Why does the ballot question fail to mention a tax increase? What are the metrics that determined the levy rate? As far as we know, there is no sunset for this tax.
I strongly recommend a NO vote on this initiative. We need more details, but what we do not need are higher taxes within school districts that are already in major debt. Finally, it is interesting that tax increases are placed on April ballots, which have the lowest voter turn-out. Wonder why?