School board keeps property tax rate the same for third year

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Board OKs student fees, will seek alternatives

By Meaghan Downs

The Anderson County Board of Education voted Monday to keep its property tax rate at $5.52 per $1,000 of assessed value for 2012.
This is the third year in a row the board has voted to maintain the same tax rate.
According to information collected from the PVA office, the schools’ tax revenue in 2011 totaled about $7.906 million.
Although the board of education voted for the same tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year, the schools’ tax revenue will increase for 2012 to $7.953 million, an additional $47,000.
The Anderson News reported in late July that Wild Turkey distillery’s new barrel houses caused an increase in its spirits inventory, leading to a $13 million increase in assessed value.
In conjunction with the $1 million increase in real estate assessment, taxing districts, including the school, will see an increase in revenue without raising their assessed value rates.
In addition to voting to maintain the same tax rate, the board also unanimously accepted the high school’s proposed fees, including the recently established instructional fees, for the 2011-12 school year.
“If there’s one thing I’ve heard negative feedback from our people, it’s these fees,” Roger McDowell, vice president of the Board of Education, said.
“People feel like this is an additional tax that they haven’t paid for.”
Superintendent Sheila Mitchell explained that the board had two options: provide the $70, 000 over two years needed for high school textbooks, or accept the instructional fees.
Board member Lee Hahn said the board should examine alternatives to instructional fees between now and next year.
Fellow board member James Sargent suggested looking into newer technology for textbooks, such as books on disk.
“As far as next year’s budget, let’s look at ways of funding that,” Hahn said.