Joplin School Board holds public hearing on proposed tax levy ch - KOAM TV 7

Joplin School Board holds public hearing on proposed tax levy changes

     Tonight the Joplin school board will conduct a public hearing on the districts tax levy.

     Officials say it will stay the same at three-dollars and 66 cents for every one-hundred dollars in property assessment.

But money is moving from one fund to another.

The Joplin school board's levy resolution  simply calls for eliminating a voluntary rollback. But the proposal  from Chief Financial Officer Paul Barr, includes  shifting  about  $2.4 million dollars from the debt service levy fund  to the operating levy fund.  Even with several bond issues to pay back,

Barr says, "We have  enough revenue in the debt service fund to keep making our principle and interest payments on all of our bonds. "

Barr says  the board could tap the Classroom Trust Fund housed in the operating levy to pay back debt service  if the board so chooses.  Some fear that could hurt spending on things like teacher salaries.

Parent Melissa Braun says, "I'm concerned about shifting money from the Classroom Trust Fund. And if you take all of the Classroom Trust Fund  money and put it back into the debt fund what happens to our teachers and our students  what does it leave them."

The Classroom Trust Fund is in the operating budget to pay salaries, insurance  benefits , lights and whatever  it takes to run a district. But Barr says the transfer wouldn't endanger teacher monies.

Barr says, "It's a direct wash and no net impact. It's replacing what left debt service in same amount to the operating fund, so they balance."

Barr says there are no plans to spend the increased operating levy dollars. But the board's budget can be amended.

Melissa Braun says, "I think it needs to be spelled out even if they have to get out a dry erase board  and say this is exactly how things  are gonna be spent and how things are gonna be done."

 Superintendent CJ Huff says, "The bottom  line to the taxpayers is still the same. No change there. But it does provide some flexibility  in future years."

   Flexibility that could allow the board to raise the levy next year.

"Next year it could by adopting one that's thirty cents higher, it could go up next year.   If the board after budgeting this fall and winter directed that, it could. This allows that flexibility. Without this action you would not have that flexibility. "

The proposal would cut the debt service levy by thirty cents, while raising the operating levy thirty cents.

One teacher did tell us with all the spending on new schools she has concerns about them not getting raises in the near future.

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