School board approves 2016-17 tax rates
The Woodford County Board of Education unanimously approved tax rates for 2016-17 following a public hearing on Sept. 1. The board approved the same rate - 66.4 cent per $100 of assessed value on real and personal property - as last fiscal year. "We've told you before today that it was our hope and intent to not change the actual rate," said Chief Operating Officer Amy Smith. She said increases in property tax assessment values and assessments on new properties will bolster the district's local tax revenues by about one-half million dollars when comparing last fiscal year to this fiscal year. Longtime school board member Margie Cleveland said she was not aware of a year when the Board of Education voted to maintain the same tax rate as the previous fiscal year. No one spoke during last week's public hearing on the proposed tax rates, which will produce an estimated $15.119 million in local revenue for Woodford County Public Schools. Schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins credited the Board of Education's fiscal responsibility for allowing the district to build its budget contingency fund to about 11 percent. Security cameras The board unanimously approved project application forms to get state approval to install new security cameras at Safe Harbor Academy, Woodford County Middle School and Woodford County High School at an estimated cost of $15,910. Available capital outlay dollars will pay for the work, which will be completed by the district's electrician and technology staff, according to the project application. Third lane at Southside Work to add a third traffic lane at the entrance/exit road of Southside Elementary School continues, with pavement striping and new signs to help direct traffic scheduled for completion this week, according to Smith. One entry lane will be designated for bus traffic and other motorists headed to the parking lot. A second entry lane will be used by parents for student drop-offs. The third lane being added to the entrance/exit becomes an exit lane. New HVAC systems Ceiling tile and insulation work continues at Southside and Northside elementary schools, but Hawkins said those buildings are much more energy efficient than before new HVAC systems were installed. Hawkins said he was not sure if a deadline to complete the projects by Friday was attainable. Student enrollment The district reached 4,002 students in total enrollment this school year, Hawkins told board members. While those student counts can fluctuate from day to day, Hawkins provided the board with enrollment number estimates at Northside Elementary (about 335 students), Southside (581), Huntertown (430-431), Simmons (about 390), Woodford County Middle School (965-970) and Woodford County High School (about 1,270).