Monday, January 13, 2014

Kentucky: Signatures handed in to recall Scott County Board of Education property tax

3,800 signatures have been handed in for a recall of the Scott County Board of Education’s 10.64-cent property tax increase. Petitioners need 2100 valids to get on the November ballot.

“We’ll be going through each page and checking every one” of the signatures, Assistant Court Clerk Brooke McDaniel told Chuck Bradley, Mike Bradley, Dwight Offutt and Kevin Sames when the four submitted an eight- to 10-inch thick stack of petitions.
“We’re gonna have a lot of fun,” she joked about the tedious process she, county Elections
Coordinator Amber Hoffman and other clerk’s office workers have ahead of them.
The petition reviews will seek to confirm that the signatures are from registered voters.
Signers also are required to sign petitions that identify specific voting precincts in which they live.
Chuck Bradley said the petition-drive organizers obtained about 3,800 signatures during the 41 days the documents were circulated. The organizers submitted the petitions four days before their deadline. If 2,100 signatures are certified by the clerk’s office as valid, the school board is required either to schedule a special election or to place the recall question on the November 2014 general-election ballot.
The drive started on Nov. 13, one day after the school board voted unanimously to increase its property tax rate from 47.2 cents per $100 assessed value to 57.84 cents.
The levy would increase the 2013 property-tax bill on a home valued at $150,000 by about $160. School board Chairman Roger Ward expressed confidence about the future of plans for the proposed high school, which would house about 1,500 students.
“The Scott County School Board is responsible for ensuring our students and staff have the financial and physical resources they need for a first-class education,” Ward said.
“We welcome attention to the needs of our students and we are confident that the plans for a second high school will ultimately be affirmed by the citizens we serve,” he added.
Vice Chair Jo Anna Fryman said she understood why people signed the petition.
“Yes, it’s a big tax increase,” she said.
But she noted that a five-year trend of repeated reductions in state funding to local districts has forced districts across the state to boost their levies.
“The state won’t give us the funding to do what we have to do,” Fryman said.
The tax increase would permit the school district to immediately launch construction of a complete high school that would be opened in 2017. It would ease overcrowding in the existing Scott County High School that promises only to worsen as the county continues its pattern of explosive growth, advocates say.
If the tax increase is recalled, the new high school will have to be built in phases and won’t be finished until 2022 at the earliest, district officials say.
Both Fryman and board member Haley Conway said they support the right of county voters to decide whether the tax increase stays in place.
“I wanted it to go to a vote. I want the people to decide how they want their money spent,” said Conway, a long-time advocate of the new high school’s construction.
“They want to know their money’s being spent wisely,” he said.
Fryman agreed.
“Ultimately, it’s the people’s choice... I would want to have my voice heard, if I felt like that,” she

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