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Fayette R-3 School District asking for tax levy increase on August ballot

When voters hit the polls August 7, they will notice a tax levy increase initiative put on the ballot by the Fayette R-3 School District. (File)

When voters hit the polls August 7, they will notice a tax levy increase initiative put on the ballot by the Fayette R-3 School District.

The Increase

The district is asking to increase the operating tax levy by 70 cents. Approval of the additional tax levy would increase property tax by 70 cents per one $100 of assessed valuation.

The current operating tax levy is $3.47. The increase would put it at $4.17. Including the debt service, the total tax levy would be $4.95.

It has been nearly two decades since the district requested a levy increase.

Board of Education President Gary Gose said the need for the increase comes from forced deficit spending.

"The cost of everything we do just keeps rising every year however, the funding has not," Gose said.

Tax Calculator

To calculate your increase per year, use this formula:

Real Estate Assessed Valuation:

$_______________

Personal Property Assessed Valuation:

$_______________

TOTAL ASSESSED VALUATION:

$_______________

Assessed Valuation/100 = $_________X .70 = $____________ (Your Increase per Year)

Gose said the increase could add a few hundred dollars to people's tax bill.

Use of the Funds

The funds generated by the increased tax levy will allow the district to regain lost funding over the years in order to remain solvent, help cover increasing operating costs and sustain or improve programs and technology. The increase will replace forced deficit spending caused by revenue shortfalls, increasing costs, decreasing enrollment and underfunded mandatory programs.

"Over the years, we've had decreasing funding from state and federal government and so, as expenses go up and we've had a decline in student enrollment, we're asking the voters to help fill in a little bit and get us on track again," Gose said.

He said the largest cost is faculty and staff and their salaries.

"It will help us keep and attract quality teachers and be able to support their salaries with this increase," Gose said.

The Opposing Side

KRCG 13 spoke to residents who said the increase would hurt taxpayers and it isn't a cost they want to pay.

Some said the district is not exposing the cost it will actually cost taxpayers.

Looking at the positive

Christopher Hubbard is a 2011 graduate of Fayette High school who still lives in the city. He said the increase could be positive.

"I put them teachers through a lot personally, so I think they deserve some of those benefits. I personally wouldn't mind, me, personally wouldn't mind paying that extra tax," he said.

Hubbard said investing in qualified educators will benefit the students.

"All those different subjects were cool or whatever, there were certain subjects I loved, ya know, but then it was to where it didn't quite focus on what I actually wanted to do when I left there," he said.

Hubbard said the extra money from the levy could help young people with the process of elimination.

"So college wouldn't be such a question, bouncing around, we should kind of get it taken care of in high school," he said.

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