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Board approves increase in tax rate

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Barlow - During the recent Board of Education meeting, board members voted unanimously to increase the General Fund tax rate from 50.9 cents on real property and personal property to 51.8 cents per $100 of assessed value.

This increase in property tax will generate an additional 4 % in revenue and will cost individuals 9 tenths of a penny per $100. During last month’s regular meeting, Superintendent Casey Allen had stated that all revenue would go toward instruction. Allen had also talked about cuts the district has had to take and said that raising the rate would add to the revenue stream every year. 

Prior to this month’s meeting, a public hearing was held in which one individual attended; the attendee was county resident Stoney Dennis who voiced his opinion.  “My concern is that we can’t just keep raising the taxes,” said Dennis. He also asked why the issue of a tax increase is not on a ballot, so people can vote on it.  Superintendent Allen suggested Dennis contact his state representative regarding his inquiry.

Speaking as a property owner and on behalf of the other board members who are also property owners, Board Chairman Haskell Sheeks said, “We realize we have to take our share of the tax burden as well as landowners.”

After approving the Working Budget, the Board discussed Certification Evaluation Training for all principals.  This is a continuing training using specific criteria and topics via a program called Teach Scape. Those principals who participated will receive four hours of Effective Instruction Leadership Act (EILA) credit.

Also pertaining to evaluation, Ballard County Elementary School Principal Vicki Gough has made minor changes to the Instructional Assistant Evaluation instrument.  She added elements for those assistants who are certified employees working in classified positions.  These elements will not be applicable to classified employees.

In other business requiring action, the board approved a payment in the amount of $2,500 for School Resource Officer Tony Wilson to work at Varsity home football games and basketball games.  They also approved travel expenses for a recent trip taken by Superintendent Allen.

The Communications report included an Assessment update submitted by Supervisor of Assessment Gayle Perkins.  According to Perkins, the Explore test, taken in the 8th grade, and the Plan test, taken in the 10th grade, will be phased out.  Both of these tests are part of ACT and serve as indicators of how well students will do on the ACT.  Next year will be the last year these tests are administered.    ACT is in the process of replacing the Explore and Plan tests with different assessments.

The Board also discussed a recent Teaching, Empowering, Leading, and Learning (Tell) Survey on Facilities and Resources administered by KEA representatives to certified staff.  The data indicated a feeling of a lack of access at all levels, with the exception of preschool, to professional support.  An example of such support is access to a nurse.  Superintendent Allen was not sure if all individuals who took the survey really knew what constitutes professional support.  The KY Tell survey can be found at www.tellkentucky.org.   

One final matter discussed by District Technology Coordinator Reta Renfrow was that of  Network upgrades. These upgrades will include wireless access in all school buildings and replacement of outdated hardware.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, October 21, due to Fall Break.

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