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During January, 2013, our nation’s leaders managed to employ a temporary fix for the “fiscal cliff” facing the nation. While their action pushed the deadlines down the road a bit, there are many difficult decisions yet to be made relative to the federal budget.
These decisions, though made in Washington D.C., will have the potential to dramatically impact our local schools and the future of the children and youth of Grant County. The board and administration of Grant County Schools want to share some thoughts so our citizens may be informed and prepared.
The majority of funds used to operate public schools in Kentucky come from three sources which include the state of Kentucky, from local revenue and from federal dollars (typically attached to specific, mandated federal programs).
Public schools in Kentucky have received fewer dollars from the state over the past several years. The cuts, necessitated by state budget deficits, have come in many forms and have grown in amount and scope each year. This year alone Grant County Schools received $773,358 LESS than we received four years ago.
Local funding comes from property, utility and motor vehicle taxes.
The Grant County Board of Education sets those tax rates after careful consideration of:
a. ever-increasing expenses;
b. ever-decreasing state revenues;
c. the impact on families and property-owners in our community, and most importantly,
d. how our school district can best meet the needs of our students.
Our board and district personnel have been extremely frugal, tightening our belt in various ways to avoid, to the best of our ability, raising taxes on our local community. At present, the tax rate for properties supporting Grant County Schools is 52.9 cents per $100 property valuation. This is the lowest tax rate of the 18 school districts in Northern Kentucky.
Over the same four years in which, we have been enduring revenue decreases from the state and increased costs of everything from gasoline to health insurance, our board has voted to increase local property taxes only at the “compensating rate” – meaning that we sought only to receive the same dollar amount locally from one year to the next. To best illustrate the bargain property owners have in Grant County Schools, the chart below compares property tax rates from several local districts over the past four years.
Now, with the threat of the federal fiscal cliff, schools stand to take another financial blow. The projected cut in federal funds for Grant County Schools in just the first year is $190,000 plus. Cuts such as this, will have an impact in the services Grant County Schools will be able to provide students. As always, every effort will be made to make decisions that have the least negative impact on our students, but there will be noticeable reductions in service for which we must prepare our community.
Whether it is cuts in education funding or continued government spending, which contributes to the ever-growing mountain of national debt, our children’s future is at stake. It is our hope that our lawmakers can find a responsible solution to this dilemma that will reduce spending in less critical areas and avoid risking the future of our children and the long-term competitiveness of our community and entire country.
Please join Grant County Schools in urging Kentucky’s entire Congressional delegation to work to achieve a solution that best ensures a bright future for our students.
Contact our senators and representatives at:
• Sen. Rand Paul, 208 Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510, 202-224-4343 / www.paul.senate.gov
• Sen. Mitch McConnell / 202-224-2541 / email@example.com, 1885 Dixie Hwy, Suite 345, Ft. Wright, KY 41011 / 859-578-0188
•U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie / http://massie.house.gov / 202-225-3465, 300 Buttermilk Pk, Suite 101, Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017 / 859-426-0080