The Richmond Register

Education

September 5, 2013

Thomas to propose full-day kindergarten at Monday tax hearing

Revenue generated by rate hike would cover cost

RICHMOND — Madison County Schools’ Superintendent Elmer Thomas will announce a plan to begin full-day kindergarten in the district Monday at the school board’s 6 p.m. public hearing on the district’s property rates.

The hearing will take place in the Madison Central High School lecture lab (gymnasium entrance).

Full-day kindergarten will be possible only if the board votes to increase taxes on real and personal property, Thomas said.

Madison County is one of eight Kentucky school districts that offers only half-day kindergarten.

The other 161 districts offer full-day classes, and five offer either option, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

The Madison County district has been solvent for years, Thomas said, “but there is no room in the budget for full-day kindergarten.”

The proposed tax increase would generate nearly $1 million in extra revenue, enough to fund extended kindergarten classes, he said.

The current rate of 58.3 cents (per $100 assessed value) on real estate would be increased to 60 cents while the personal property rate of 58.8 cents also would increase to 60 cents.

The increase would add around $18 to the tax bill of a home worth $100,000, or $1.50 a month, the superintendent pointed out.

Tax-hike opponents filled the room during the August 2012 public hearing to stand against any tax increase.

In the end, the board voted 4-0 to levy a 58.3-cent tax rate on real estate, the same as the previous year. The personal property rate was lowered to 58.8 cents, a drop from the 2011 rate of 59.4.

Thomas said he has been very clear about his position on fiscal conservatism since beginning his tenure in July. However, funneling the extra revenue “directly to students at school-level” along with “appropriate staffing allocations” also demonstrates fiscal responsibility, he said.

He and his staff “look at every dollar” to ensure the district is not overspending on programs, or even on employees, he added.

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