Education

For first time in years, Lexington schools won’t raise your tax rate. Find out why.

Students waited for the doors to open for the first day of classes at the new Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington on Wednesday.
Students waited for the doors to open for the first day of classes at the new Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington on Wednesday.

Because of Lexington’s thriving housing market, for the first time in seven years the Fayette County Public Schools board is not considering an annual property tax rate increase for the 2017-18 school year.

The current rate is 75 cents per $100 for real estate and 75 cents per $100 for personal property. Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk is again recommending that school board members approve a rate of 75 cents for real estate and 75 cents for personal property.

“Property values are going up so the rate is going to stay the same,” but the same rate is still expected to produce a 4 percent increase in the revenues derived from real and personal property, school board member Doug Barnett said during Monday’s planning meeting.

“It’s good news,” said Barnett.

The general tax rate of 75 cents on real and personal property produced $202.7 million for Fayette County Public Schools in 2016-17.

The general tax rate of 75 cents on real and personal property is expected to generate $215 million in 2017-18. The bulk of the additional money will be spent on instruction.

School board members are expected to give final approval of the rate at the board’s 6 p.m. Aug. 28 regular meeting, following a public hearing on the rate at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 at the school district’s Central Office.

As evidence that property values are improving, Lexington’s median sales price of homes in July 2016 was $180,500. In July 2017 it was $186,500, according to Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator David O’Neill.

“This is an indication of a very strong housing market,” O’Neill said. “Property values have been increasing fairly significantly over the past several years.”

The total value of all taxable property in Fayette County grew by $1.4 billion since last year, O’Neill said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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