Passage would mean lower tuition, tax hike
ome potential voters have noticed what they feel is an important fact missing from ballot language in a question on the April 6 ballot.
Voters in the Platte County R-3 District will decide whether or not to “attach” the school district boundaries to The Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri.
The yes or no ballot questions does not mention that passage would bring a tax increase within the district. Metropolitan Community College currently has a tax levy of .2128 per $100 of assessed valuation. That levy would be assessed on real estate and personal property within the R-3 district, if voters approve the question.
According to information provided upon request by the Platte County Collector’s Office, the .2128 tax levy would bring in $1,115,355 annually for the Metropolitan Community College, based on the 2020 assessed valuation within the school district.
Platte County Board of Elections officials say that including the tax levy in the ballot language is not a requirement per state statute.
“There is no mention of the tax in the ballot language because the levy varies year-to-year and is set by the state,” Blake Fry, executive director of communication and marketing for MCC told The Landmark this week.
“To state a specific amount in the ballot language would not be a true depiction of what the tax could be in the future,” Fry added.
“By statute, our tax would never exceed .27,” he remarked.
As examples, the owner of a $280,000 home in the R-3 district would pay $114 annually to the MCC. The owner of a $150,000 home would pay roughly $60 in taxes per year to the MCC.
Proponents of the measure point out passage of the “attachment” question would mean lower tuition for residents of the Platte County R-3 School District.
Fry said the cost per credit hour with attachment is $107, considerably less than the $198 without it.
Campaign material distributed by Missourians for Higher Education, Bill Skaggs, treasurer, indicates that “MCC and other Metro KC District schools provide technical and continuing education to all ages in a changing economy. Attaching the district to more of our neighbors can continue their education and get higher paying jobs.”
Proponents also say “attaching to the Junior College District of Metropolitan Kansas City will allow all residents to pursue a quality education close to home at any of five area campuses.” They also point out that “all credit hours and courses offered by the Junior College District of Kansas City are fully transferable to four-year universities. This means students can stay closer to home and save money for the first two years of their college education.”
The colleges that are a part of the MCC system include MCC-Blue River in Independence, MCC-Business & Technology in Kansas City, MCC-Longview in Lee’s Summit, MCC-Maple Woods located off of NE Barry Road, and MCC-Penn Valley located along Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City.
Platte County R-3 isn’t the only school district where the idea is being proposed on the spring ballot. Other districts with the ballot question on April 6 are: Kearney, Smithville, Liberty, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, Harrisonville, and Raymore-Peculiar.
It is important to know that each school district vote is separate from the others. The “attachment” to MCC and the accompanying tax levy will go into effect in each school district where it is approved by voters and will not go into effect where it is not approved by voters.
Platte County School District officials said the district takes no position on this ballot measure.
“As a district, we do not endorse the measure or oppose it,” a recent email from the R-3 district to patrons said.
These school districts are already members of MCC district:
Park Hill, North Kansas City, Kansas City Public Schools, Independence Public Schools, Fort Osage R-1 School District, Blue Springs R-IV School District, Raytown C-2 School District, Hickman Mills C-1 School District, Grandview Consolidated School District No. 4, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and Belton School District.