Board restricts $600,000 for school projects
The Woodford County Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution Monday that restricts $600,000 for school construction projects and/or debt payments. Its action to shift the property tax revenue from the general fund to the building fund will boost the district’s bonding potential from $23 million to $37 million, according to its fiscal agent Hilliard Lyons.
The board passed its resolution a few months after a June special election when a majority of Woodford County voters opposed a proposed 5.5 cent facilities tax to pay for a new high school and other facility improvements.
A new high school has been the top priority on the district’s facility plan for several years. However, its bonding capacity (how much the district can borrow) was not at a level to cover the estimated cost of $47 million to build a new high school.
In August, the board voted to increase property tax rates from 66.4 cents (per $100 of assessed value) to 68.2 cents, which increased local tax revenue by 4 percent or $637,000. Schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins recommended board members restrict only $600,000 to the building fund because some of the property tax dollars will likely not be collected.
Down memory lane
Coming to a board meeting at Woodford County Middle School and learning more about what’s going on there reminded longtime board member Margie Cleveland, who’s not seeking reelection in November, of the bygone days when she watched a new middle school being built.
“Now to come in here and listen to (the middle school’s administrative team talk about) what’s going on in this building, I’m just in awe,” Cleveland said.
Board member Sherri Springate pointed out that the old middle school, which has been razed from its former site at the corner of Maple and Lexington streets, did not have the adequate space to offer as many opportunities to students as the current school facilities along Falling Springs Boulevard.
The board approved a $56.354 million working budget for the 2018-19 school year. Besides transferring $600,000 to the building fund, the budget’s general fund includes $325,000 for three new school buses and a 10.51 percent ($4.679 million) contingency fund.
The board also approved DK Contractors’ bid of $1.017 million for an expansion of the kitchen and cafeteria at Southside Elementary School. The bid was $189,000 higher than an estimate, but Hawkins attributed that to rising construction costs in the six to eight months since the estimate was made.
Board member Karen Brock suggested that employees in the district should be recognized for going “above and beyond.” She cited the example of the custodian who came back to work on his own time to clean up water that had come into the middle school building during a recent storm.