Boone County superintendent has grave concerns about costs for K-12 education shifting from state to local level

09/12/2017 04:06 PM

FLORENCE – In what very well be a trend in many areas of the commonwealth, property owners in Boone County will be seeing an increase in their tax rate to fund their ever growing school district.

Last week, the school board voted unanimously to increase property taxes which are expected to bring in $3 million additional dollars to the district which will bring the overall total of property tax revenue in the district to $81 million.

State funding for the district is expected to decrease based on changes made to the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) formula.

The overall budget for the 20,395 pupil district will be approximately $200 million.

Boone County Superintendent Randy Poe says a lot of thought went into requesting the increase to fund the district which has seen a one percent increase in the number of students in each of the last five years.

“There’s reductions in our SEEK formula, so we’re receiving over a million dollars less in our SEEK formula, and that’s without any of the cuts that you’re hearing about, the seventeen percent cuts,” Poe said. “You know, we’re hearing there are no cuts in education, that’s to the SEEK formula, but there are cuts to multiple other things, your text book funds, your gifted and talented programs, your ELL, and those are all things underneath contract, so we’re seeing a potential seventeen percent reduction in that particular funding also.”

The district will also see the addition of two schools which include a new 600 student middle school in 2018 which will add an additional $2.5 million in operational costs which isn’t included in this year’s budget and the 1,000 student Ignite Institute regional high school in 2019 which will be located in the former Toyota North America engineering building.

“Our Imagineering students will be moving in to the Ignite building, so we’re going to be increasing that particular cost, that’s a $3 million increase to our budget,” Poe said. “So, just those two items alone is a $5.5 million increase to our budget.”

Poe has grave concerns that more and more costs for K through 12 education has shifted from the state to the local level.

“The local boards of educations have to make the decision that our state representatives will not make, they just continue the cuts, so there have been multiple cuts over the years,” Poe said. “We operate in Boone County Schools, at $20 million less than the average district in the state of Kentucky per pupil average.”

Poe is confident that the Boone County community will continue to support the district financially, but he is fearful that if the current shift continues with more and more burden put at the local level, you could see a number of districts not able to survive.

“In some of these communities where there is not a tax base to do that, I don’t know what’s going to happen to them,” Poe said. “In the future, if things continue the way it is, there’s going to have to be consolidation. I don’t know of any way that independents and some of the other ones to even be able to survive.”

Boone County Schools currently operates 14 elementary, 5 middle and 4 high schools, along with an area technology center.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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