new school

Glasgow, KY

#1 Jun 5, 2010
Metcalfe still has equalization chance
Glasgow Daily Times

EDMONTON — Whether the Metcalfe County School System qualifies for equalization this beinnium has been a much-debated issue lately.

The truth is the school system does not currently qualify for equalization, but it could later.

The school district came up with the money to build a new middle school on its own. The Metcalfe County Board of Education voted in 2009 to take a 4-percent increase in tax revenue compared to 2008. Instead of levying an additional 5-cent property tax, it set aside 5.7 cents per $100 assessed value from the tax rate, which is often referred to as a “shuffled nickel,” to generate revenue to pay for the construction.

The funding garnered from the increase in tax revenue will be matched with about $90,000 from the school district’s general fund to be the equivalent of a taxable nickel.

School board members hoped earlier this year that amount would be equalized by the state legislature, but it wasn’t.

However, the board of education can come back at any time and vote to levy the 5-cent property tax.

“If they levy a nickel, they will get equalization funding for any Category 5 school they have,” said Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg.“And it is my understanding they have potentially two Category 5 facilities.”

Schools that are identified by the Kentucky Department of Education as Category 5 schools are those that have been slated for replacement.

More than $5.9 million has been included in the state’s 2010-2012 budget to provide equalization for school districts that have Category 5 schools as of May 18. Those school districts can levy the 5-cent tax and receive equalization, said Shannon Pratt Stiglitz, assistant director of governmental relations for the Kentucky School Boards Association. Metcalfe County has two such schools — North Metcalfe and Summer Shade elementaries. Metcalfe County Middle School and Edmonton Elementary have been identified by KDE as Category 4 schools.

“Equalization shall be provided at 150 percent of the statewide average per pupil assessment beginning in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the levy is imposed,” reads the budget.“This levy shall be subject to recall provisions ...”

If, after levying the 5-cent property tax, the school district still does not have enough money to build its new facility, the state can entertain an offer of assistance to help the project along, Givens said.

“The other thought that is really interesting is the formula for equalization in such that Metcalfe County’s is not matched. It is almost doubled. A nickel turns into 12 cents from the state,” he said.“It’s really a beneficial opportunity.”

The school board could get up to $11 million of equalization if they add a levied nickel and not a shuffled nickel, said Stiglitz.

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