School board extends Bernard’s contract, proposes tax rate hike

Posted September 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Clinton County Schools Superintendent Charlotte Bernard received a four-year extension to her current contract and the Board of Education proposed increasing the tax on real and personal property from 38.4 cents per $100 assessed value to 40 cents. Those were a couple of the actions taken at the board’s regular meeting held Monday evening, September 9 with all members present.

Mid-way through the approximate 40-minute session, the board voted to revise the superintendent’s contract and following little discussion, Board Member Goldie Stonecipher made a motion to extend Superintendent Bernard’s contract from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2018.

The move means the superintendent, who is now in the second year of her contract which began July 1, 2012, will be guaranteed a six-year tenure in the position.

The vote to grant the four-year extension after next June 30 passed 4-1 with board members Stonecipher, Paula Key, Junior Cecil and Jeff Sams voting in favor and board member Kevin Marcum voting no.

Near the end of the meeting, on a motion by Board Member Cecil, they voted to propose a tax levy at the following rates for the 2013-14 school year: 40 cents per $100 on real estate, 40 cents per $100 on personal property, 53 cents per $100 on motor vehicle, three percent utility tax and propose to tax watercraft as defined by KRS 136.1801. Included in the motion was setting a public hearing on the proposed rates, with that hearing being scheduled for Thursday, September 26 at 5 p.m. at the Central Office.

The vote taken Monday night was to propose the rates only, with no official rates being set until after the aforementioned public hearing is conducted. The vote was 4-1, with Marcum voting no.

Finance Director Mike Reeves presented information on the proposed property tax assessment, as follows:

* For the current school year the compensating tax rate for our school district is 38.5 cents per hundred dollars with a proposed change to 40 cents per hundred dollars, a proposed increase of 1.5 cents per hundred dollars on real property which includes real estate and personal property.

— Increase to the average taxpayer ($70,000 of assessed value) of $11.50 per year or approximately 96 cents per month.

— For example:

* For an assessment of $70,000 an increase of $11.50 per year.

* For an assessment of $100,000 an increase of $15 per year.

— Increasing from 38.5 cents per hundred dollars to 40 cents per hundred dollars on real property is estimated to provide an additional $64,082 in tax revenue:

* Increase of $57,203 annually on real estate property.

* Increase of $6,879 on personal property.

— Adding a property tax on documented watercraft as defined by KRS 136.1801. Our district has not levied this tax before; more than 90 percent of the watercraft tax would be generated by out-of-town individuals. Russell and Pulaski counties have both levied this tax during the past five years.

* Provide additional tax revenue of $39,435 annually.

— Last tax increase was 11 years prior.

— Clinton County ranks 16th lowest out of 176 school districts on taxation rates.

During a meeting of the District Finance Corporation, made up of board members, which was called to order during a brief recess of the regular meeting, the board approved a bond resolution aimed at saving the school district money on existing bonds they now have, should interest rates be lowered in the future.

The resolution initiates the refinancing process of 2010 school building revenue bonds, originally issued to finance projects.

Brian Skinner with Ross-Sinclair and Associates noted that due to the current federal sequester situation, he would advise the board to not actually act on the refinancing of the bonds at this point, saying it would only save the district an estimated $25,000 over the payback period.

Skinner went on to say, however, that by having the resolution in place, should interest rates drop nationally to around five percent, the board could then take action to refinance and save upwards to $75,000 or more.

Motions to approve the bond resolution, one for the board and one of the finance corporation, was made by board members Sams and Key, respectively and passed by unanimous vote.

CCHS Band Director Doug Sell also addressed the board briefly near the end of the meeting, stating he wished to withdraw an earlier proposal for a ‘band fee’ for band members, saying his proposal made last month had been “misunderstood” by a lot of parents.

Sell had proposed charging a fee of $100 for band members as a way to help generate revenue for the band program without having to hold various different fundraisers throughout the year to support the program.

He indicated the cost of holding fundraisers was also expensive, since the parents wind up paying to purchase whatever is being sold anyway because they feel obligated to buy the product.

Board Member Paula Key added she “was all for it (band fee).” Sell also added that some band member parents had asked if they could go ahead and make a donation toward the band program.

The last item on the agenda was the attendance report for the first partial month of school by Director of Pupil Personnel Julie York.

Early figures show overall ADA (Average Daily Attendance) was up from the previous year, standing at 96.89 percent through August 21, compared to 96.55 a year ago. Overall enrollment for the period was down slightly to 1,731 students, compared to 1,740 at the same time period last year.

The school with the highest ADA for the month was Albany Elementary (97.68) and the school that showed the most improvement was the Early Childhood Center, at 97.04, up from 95.02 last year.

York expressed optimism about seeing overall attendance staying up for the school year, hoping for good weather and no flu outbreaks.

The DPP also has put in some initiatives she hopes will increase attendance throughout the school year and highlights of some of those programs will be published in later issues.

In other business on Monday, the board:

* Approved the District Health and Wellness Plan for the 2013-14 school year as presented by the Director of Food Services, Georgia Rigney.

* Approved a family medical leave for Tonda Thompson through November 29 and a medical leave to Teresa Tarter through February 1, 2014.

* Approved between meeting disbursements and voted to pay claims and bills.

* Under personnel report, Board Chairman Paula Key made the following announcements:

— Classified resignations: Lisa Savage, Library Media Clerk at CCMS; Sandy Pyles, Instructional Assistant at CCHS; Kerri McDaniel, bus driver.

— Classified hired: Katrina Smith, aide for Special Needs Children at the ECC; Lisa Savage, Food Service Secretary; Sandy Pyles, Secretary II at CCHS; Luke Boils, Assistant Football Coach, CCMS.

— Certified hired: Josh Moons, Athletic Director at CCMS.

— Substitute teachers: Greg Wells, CCHS/Foothills Academy; Barry Tompkins, district-wide; Stevie Walker, district-wide; Jennifer Riddle, ECC; J.W. Collins, district-wide.

— Retired: Eric Dicken, Clinton Elementary School Counseling Project Director.

* Approved the Head Start lease for the 2013-14 school year.

* Approved an agreement with Campbellsville University for the purpose of a student teacher beginning August 2013 through July 2014.

* Approved the Indirect Cost Report for the 2013-14 school year. The Non-Restricted Indirect Cost rate is 9.51; the Restricted Indirect Cost rate is 0.68.

* Approved the 2013-14 fiscal year working budget.

* Approved an overnight trip for the high school girls’ basketball team to Louisville December 19 through December 21.

* Approved an overnight trip for the boys’ high school basketball team to Lexington December 26 through December 30.

* Superintendent Charlotte Bernard also announced that the magazine, Kentucky School Advocate, had recently published an article pertaining to the recent school safety drill held in early August and invited the public to attend the second annual 2014 District-wide Pep Rally that will be held Tuesday, September 24 starting at approximately 12:45 p.m. at the CCMS gymnasium.

The next regular meeting of the Clinton County Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, October 14 at 5 p.m. at the Central Office and is open to the general public.