School board meets, more Nickel Tax issues discussed

Posted July 17, 2019 at 11:22 am

Clinton County Board of Education turned its regularly scheduled work session into its regular business meeting last Thursday, July 11, due to a conference that the new Clinton County schools superintendent Tim Parson had to attend all this week.

All board members were present for the 45-minute session, which saw various routine items of business being voted on, as well as a discussion of the proposed nickel tax and the petition that is currently underway to have the issue placed on a public ballot.

The board first heard the first monthly report from new superintendent Dr. Tim Parson, who outlined a few goals he has begun working on with details to be forthcoming in the future.

Finance Director Mike Reeves then gave the monthly finance report, noting the district had a “pretty good past fiscal year.”

Reeves also gave information pertaining to the nickel tax and a separate article on that information and ensuing discussion can be found in a separate article beginning on page 1.

The board also approved Tim Parson as board secretary and temporary co-treasurer/bond treasurer until that position can be filled by a permanent person.

The board then approved a BG-1 for a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract. During that vote, Albany Elementary School Principal Tim Armstrong noted some construction issues facing AES, including the HVAC system.

The primary total of $3,340,000 would be in repairs to the AES HVAC system, among other major energy savings needs.

The board also unanimously approved the Instructional Day Schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 school year with no changes being made.

Director of Pupil Personnel Julie York noted that last year’s drop-off and pick-ups at all schools and start and ending of classes worked well and no changes were needed in the schedule.

Also approved was the annual Code of Pupil Conduct, which pertained only minor revisions. The code is given to all students and parents at the start of each school year.

The board then voted to modify adult meal pricing with a formula that is compliant with USDA guidelines and approved renewal of its annual membership of $50 to the Albany-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

The board then voted to declare five buses as surplus property, setting a minimum bid on all buses at $1,450.00.

The following consent items were then approved: approval of previous meeting minutes; payment of bills; approval of between meeting disbursements; approval of school trips and schedules and Best Practice Annual acknowledgement.

The board agenda had been adopted at the start of the meeting and with no public comments being made following regular business, the meeting was adjourned.

The next work session of the board is scheduled for August 15 and next regular business meeting for August 19, both at 5 p.m. at the Central Office and both are open to the general public.






pertinent information pertaining to “Nickel Tax”

The Clinton County Board of Education and school officials are ramping up their backing of the recently adopted “Nickel Tax” after a petition was recently filed by a petition committee to challenge the tax and have it put to a public vote.

The nickel tax issue was discussed at last Thursday’s meeting of the Clinton County Board of Education, with Finance Director Mike Reeves issuing some basic facts to the board and the public pertaining to what the tax is, listing six primary points.

Reeves reviewed that information with board members and others in attendance last week and the following is the information released:

1. What is the purpose of the Nickel Tax:

The Nickel Tax is a tax which provides funding to school districts for the renovation or construction of buildings/facilities.

2. How will the Nickel Tax be used for Clinton County:

The tax will be used to build a new high school for grades 9-12. The existing building will not be used for students with the exception of the gymnasium which will be renovated during the project.

3. How does the Nickel Tax benefit our school system:

The state provides additional funding for each dollar raised by this tax. At full equalization the state will give Clinton County Schools $1.53 for every $1.00 the tax generates.

For example: If the tax generates $250,000 the state gives the school district $382,500. During a 20-year match the state would provide $7,650,000 to our school district.

4. Can the Nickel Tax be used for anything besides construction/renovation:

NO, the funds are placed in a restricted fund and may not be used for any reason other than construction or renovation.

5. How much will this tax rate raise my property tax during a year:

The tax is approximately 6 cents per $100. The average taxpayer in Clinton County would be affected $2 per month.

6. What happens if this tax is not passed:

Due to the age of (the) Clinton County High School the state will not allow any major renovation to the building/facilities. This will mean no major improvements can be made on heating/cooling, plumbing, the gym including bleachers and floors. The state must approve any major renovation which means it would be out of local control.

During board and spectator discussion, it was noted that some rumors about where the tax dollars would go and how it would be spent is going around, including even talk of “corruption.”

The board and school officials have dismissed those rumors, prompting Reeves to spell out exactly how the tax dollars raised can and/or cannot be used.

Board member Gary Norris said that the state would not fund renovations to the existing high school since the cost of total renovation would be more than 80 percent of what the building itself is actually valued at.

“The general fund cannot afford the renovation costs,” Norris said.

Board member Bobbi Bair also said the public needed to be made aware of the actual use of the Nickel Tax funding.

Reeves also noted that if major renovation costs to the existing building were to occur and the district could not fund repairs, the state could relocate students, noting that would not be a good situation. “How can you argue against the tax if you are really concerned for our kids?” he asked.

(A separate article on the Nickel Tax issue, including an interview with Clinton County Schools Board Chairman Kevin Marcum, can be found on page 1.)