Education

Should the Fayette school board raise taxes? They are talking about it Thursday.

Fayette County Superintendent presents “State of Schools”

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk presents the 2019 State of Schools address at the Lexington Convention Center.
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Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk presents the 2019 State of Schools address at the Lexington Convention Center.

The Fayette County Public Schools board is holding a special meeting Thursday night to try to decide whether or not to raise taxes.

At Monday night’s planning meeting, the Fayette County Public School Board meeting was presented several tax scenarios by the Fayette County Public Schools staff, said board chairman Stephanie Spires.

“Realizing that we needed time to study the information, seek input from our constituents, and ask questions, we opted to adjourn and hold another meeting this Thursday. A final decision will be made at a Special Called Meeting in September, after a Public Hearing is held, giving residents and opportunity to share their ideas, questions, and concerns,” Spires said.



The meeting is at 5 p.m. Thursday at Central Office.

“The Board would like to provide some tax relief to Fayette County residents but is also trying to understand how the reduction in funding from Frankfort and the unfunded mandates from Senate Bill 1 (the 2019 General Assembly school safety bill) negatively impact our budget,” said Spires. “ We are hopeful that the General Assembly will allocate some funding dollars for these mandates during the 2020 legislative session instead of placing the financial burden on Fayette County residents. “

At Monday’s meeting, board members talked both about the school safety tax that provides money for a variety of safety-related initiatives and a tax that would give the district four percent additional income.

“I’m opposed to any tax increase,” board member Will Nash told the Herald-Leader Thursday. “The property tax rate in Fayette County has gone up nearly 30 percent over the last 10 years — pricing out low- and middle-income earners, and having a significant impact on our fixed-income residents. Frankfort created our funding crisis and Frankfort needs to fix it.”

“We can’t solve the shortages we have through local revenue alone. Residents of Fayette County stepped up to fund our school safety initiatives and we can’t continue to ask them to fund more unfunded mandates from (Frankfort), from the legislature,” Nash said.

Board member Tyler Murphy voted no on the tentative budget in May because it was predicated on raising taxes so that Fayette County Public Schools would have four percent additional income.

“My vote on the tentative budget in May is where I still stand,” Murphy said Wednesday.

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