Promotion methods for Nickel Tax discussed by school board

Posted June 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm

Clinton County Board of Education held a quite lengthy session last Tuesday morning, May 28 with all members present. The majority of the meeting was in closed session pursuant to KRS 61.810(f) to discuss the superintendent search process.

The board did open the meeting, however, with an almost 45-minute open planning session discussion, dealing with planning for the upcoming 2019-20 fiscal and school year.

The majority of the discussion centered around “how to advertise” or make the public and community, aware of the necessity of the recently passed “Nickel Tax.”

Superintendent Charlotte Nasief asked, “how (do we) advertise the Nickel Tax and promote it in the community.” She also referred to a graph that was published in a recent Clinton County News article highlighting the cost of the tax on taxpayers.

The tax, if not challenged by a recall, would go into effect on this fall’s tax rolls. The Nickel Tax, which can potentially be matched by state funding and increases bond potential, is set aside solely for renovation of existing facilities, new construction and/or debt service.

It is the hope of the school board that funds garnered from the Nickel Tax would eventually go toward construction of a new Clinton County High School, which they feel is sorely needed.

Superintendent Nasief also suggested taking the issue before the Chamber of Commerce, and some board members also felt getting the word out to Tyson Foods (formerly Keystone), the largest employer in the county, would also be a plus in explaining the need for the tax.

Board member Leslie Stockton also suggested sending email information and facts about the nickel tax to all faculty in the district about why the board made the decision to opt for the Nickel Tax.

Board chairman Kevin Marcum also suggested focusing on getting the word out to younger students, i.e., middle school age, who would probably be benefitting from attending a new high school in the future.

Stockton also said, “If the community is not willing to invest in itself, the state won’t either.”

There was also the consideration that the state (Department of Education) would not put in money for renovation of the existing high school due to its condition and age.

The current high school, which began as an elementary school, was originally constructed in the early to mid-1960s, with the CCHS gymnasium being finished in the mid-1970s.

Superintendent Nasief, who will be leaving at the end of the month, noted the board needed to choose a successor that was “on board” with building a new high school.

She further noted that architects should design a new facility to make it as safe for students and staff as possible.

Board member Gary Norris, without mentioning the district by name, noted that one district had refused to take the Nickel Tax to build a new school and the state took over, and still raised the tax rate by some 11 percent.

Marcum, who was once skeptical himself about the added tax, said that now most people he had talked to had changed their minds, but added he would welcome any suggestions the public would have on the issue.

“We aren’t people who just want to raise other people’s taxes for no reason,” the board chairman added.

During the discussion, it was also noted that the school district wanted to “keep and utilize” the CCHS gym, aka, The Castle, in some capacity.

A public hearing on the Nickel Tax, which is required, is tentatively scheduled for June 13 with the time and location to be announced.

Other planning issues, such as Dual Credit through Campbellsville University, after school transportation, etc. was also briefly discussed prior to the board entering into closed session on the superintendent search process issue.

The board also held another special meeting on Thursday, May 30 with discussions being in closed session.

The agenda listed, “discussion of candidates for the superintendent position, including discussions of possible contract terms.” No action was taken following the closed session.