Superintendent Cornelius Faulkner speaks on Caverna tax rate change

Superintendent Cornelius Faulkner

 

By Superintendent Cornelius Faulkner

 

We just want to make sure the citizens of Caverna and Hart County are fully informed regarding the Caverna tax rate since there was some information that was misrepresented during the September 17th Fiscal Court meeting.

  • Our public hearing for the tax rate was September 10, 2020 at 6:00 PM followed by our regular board meeting at 6:30PM. As required by law, the tax hearing was advertised by August 27th and September 3rd in both the Hart County Herald and the Barren County Progress.

 

  • The article indicated the tax increase would generate up to half a million dollars. In reality, the difference between the compensating tax rate and the 4% increase will generate $107,743.

 

  • This tax increase will only impact the citizens living in the Caverna School District. The article would lead the readers to believe this tax increase will impact all citizens in Hart County. What does this increase mean for Horse Cave citizens? If you own a home valued at $50,000, your property tax bill will increase by $11.00. If you own a home valued at $100,000, your property tax bill will increase by $22.00.

 

Our Deciding Factors:

 

  • Education has lost ground in the state budget – as recent as 2008 the total state SEEK funding was at 69% and 31% local compared to 2020 where the total state SEEK funding is at 45% and local 55%. Education is a state responsibility; however, local communities are increasingly contributing a larger financial burden when compared to the state.

 

  • Preliminary information from the state level indicated there could be some cuts once again to education in the state budget. This was confirmed with an official letter from the Commissioner of Education indicating an anticipated revenue shortfall for the fiscal year 2020. The shortfall could be from $242 million to $504 million. KDE’s General Fund appropriations are utilized to help local school districts. We were concerned that if these cuts were implemented to the Department of Education, funds for local school districts could be impacted.

 

  • School districts have to develop and fund staffing plans in April according to Kentucky Regulation Statute. Once contracts are developed according to the staffing plan, we cannot make cuts to staffing which is over 75% of our budget. Our staffing plan has the minimum number of teachers allowed by the state according to the student/teacher ratio.

 

  • The Caverna Board of Education chose to only take the compensating tax rate in 2019-20.

 

  • The only tax revenue for Caverna Schools is the property tax. Caverna does not have a 3% utility tax. In comparison, Hart County Schools and Barren County Schools both have a 3% utility tax in addition to the property taxes.

 

The table below provides the tax rates for Hart County and Caverna Schools for the past 6 years.

Local Funding Revenue for Hart/Caverna School Districts

 

  Hart County Schools Caverna Schools
 

2020-21

 

Compensating rate only + 3% utility tax

+ Recallable Nickel Tax 5.8%

4%
 

2019-20

 

4% property + 3% utility tax

+ Recallable Nickel Tax 5.8%

Compensating rate only
 

2018-19

 

Other % + 3% utility tax

+ Recallable Nickel Tax 5.8%

4%
 

2017-18

 

4% + 3% utility tax

+ Recallable Nickel Tax 5.8%

4%
 

2016-17

 

4% + 3% utility tax

+ Recallable Nickel Tax 5.8%

4%
 

2015-16

 

4% + 3% utility tax

+ Recallable Nickel Tax 5.8%

4%

 

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