Voters to Consider Raising Brentwood Schools Tax Rate in April
The Brentwood School Board heard the report of a special committee Monday night, and took its advice.
The Brentwood School Board, at its Monday meeting, took the recommendation of a special committee, and approved a school tax levy to go before the voters in April.
Approximately 20 interested residents came to the meeting to hear what the committee had to say, and to see what the board did with the information.
“The last operating tax ceiling increase was 10 years ago, and at that time, that ceiling increase was expected to be sufficient four to six years,” Mike Slatin, speaking for the Budget Advisory Committee, said.
He said the committee determined that now is the time to make needed investments in the school district.
The measure, to be known as Proposition K, would raise the operating tax rate by 75 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. For a $200,000 house, that comes out to $285 a year on paper, but Superintendent David Faulkner said residential homeowners would actually pay less than that.
It will “enable the district to improve its financial position from now until 2019, when significant new revenues become available through the expiration of TIFs,” Slatin said.
He listed some needs additional funds would address.
- Will be able to update computers and other technology for classrooms and resume a regular technology refresh cycle
- Will make critical improvements to facilities infrastructure, for instance, wireless networking and instructional space upgrades
- Reinstate the full-time K-12 positions that are currently unfilled, and potentially add additional staff
- Maintain a salary schedule that is competitive with comparable districts
- Will ensure teachers and staff have access to the best development opportunities
- Will enable the district to cease short-term borrowing in approximately two to three years
Board member Katrina Harper said educating the community of the need is important, and also that there's not much time to do it in. She said she's afraid of "an underlying feeling in the community that we’re rolling in dough.
"When people approach me, I say I think we’re very lean. Being on the board I’ve never witnessed waste," she said.
Brentwood High School teacher Ed Wright said he has talked with the leaders of the staff organizations in the district, and said they're ready to do what they can to support it.
Faulkner said had talked with board members Chris Jones, Michelle Hassemer, Katrina Sommer, who weren't at the meeting, and said they supported it. He said the paperwork was prepared, so if they approved putting the measure on the April ballot, it could be done.
Dan Williams, Katrina Harper, Regina Gahr and Keith Rabenberg, the board members present, voted unanimously to put the measure on the April ballot.
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