Scott County

Scott County school board unanimously approves tax increase

Trey Crumbie

The Scott County school board on Tuesday unanimously approved a property-tax increase to help fund the construction of Great Crossing High School, which would be the district’s second high school.

The vote followed a public hearing.

Twelve speakers made statements at the hearing, most of them supporting the tax increase. Those who opposed the tax increase expressed concerns about being able to afford it.

Harold Dean Jessie, a business owner, said he supported the tax increase because, “We are obligated to do what’s best for the kids, and in my opinion this is what’s best for the kids,” he said.

Scott County Schools superintendent Kevin Hub had been pushing for the tax increase since he took over the job in July. In a Jan. 5 work session, Hub argued that the measure would help the district build a new high school, an elementary school and a middle school. The tax would also help pay for maintenance on current buildings.

The tax, which would take effect in the fall, would add 5.7 cents per $100 assessed value on real estate and personal property.

The increase is expected to generate $40 million in bonding potential for the school district, which will allow the district to borrow more money to build the school.

A second high school in Scott County has been a goal for several years. Scott County High School is overcrowded and the school district, like the county overall, is projected to grow tremendously in the next decade.

Tuesday night’s vote to levy the tax increase was not the school board’s first attempt to raise money to build a new high school. In 2014, the school board voted to rescind a tax boost intended to help generate money for a second high school after a petition was submitted to force a referendum.

One resident in particular said the construction of the second school was overdue.

“We can’t afford to delay this project any longer,” Karen Ogle said.

Great Crossing High School will feature 42 regular classrooms and 13 special education classrooms.

The high school is expected to hold as many as 1,500 students with support areas, which include room for future growth, for as many as 1,930 students.

Great Crossing High School is now set to cost $57.8 million, but the school board might approve changes in future meetings that would raise the price.

According to a projected time line, Great Crossing High School is scheduled to be finished by July 2019 and open in August.

Scott County residents might challenge the tax increase through a petition.

Trey Crumbie: 859-231-3261, @CrumbieHLeader