Paducah Public Schools possibly increasing taxes

Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively is trying to find ways to keep up with increased costs while offering the same opportunities for his students.

“It’s a tough situation. It’s not one we've chosen to be in. Its one that's been mandated, and so we are looking at all of our options,” Shively said.

He says a local tax levy looks like their best option to help cover the Kentucky state-wide mandate to increase staff salaries by 2 percent this school year.

The district has a $16 million personnel budget. The mandated raises will cost $320,000, and rank and experience salary increases are $210,682 this year.

“So, relatively, $530,000 to offer the same programs and opportunities this year that we have in the past,” Shively said.

The general tax fund would go from 77.1 cents on real and person property to 80 cents. So, if you own a $100,000 home you'd pay $29 more a year on taxes or about $2.42 a month.

These taxes would generate the school $8,024,000, instead of $7,781,000 a year.

“I mean, this is an investment in our future of Paducah, and our students. So we are going to do everything we can to ensure high quality instruction takes place,” Shively said.

Homeowner Glenn Ross doesn't have children in Paducah Public Schools, but works with children who are as a youth minister. His wife has also been a teacher in the past.

"We see the value in educating our children and helping them grow into the successful young men and women that God wants them to be, so we don't have any problem pouring into their lives," Ross said.  

Support from the community is an important factor. Shively is noticing a trend of receiving less state money.

In FY 2009, state funds covered 61 percent of education costs. The latest numbers are for fiscal year 2014, which show the state covering 54 percent of costs.

Even with the possible tax increase, the school district still faces a shortfall of possibly about $100,000.

Shively says loss of federal money due to paying health insurance, general fund money on textbooks, and having to pay transportation fees out of their general fund is also adding up costs.

The superintendent says they’re having a public meeting Wednesday to hear opinions on other options to fund the district.

 He says they're always analyzing ways to be more efficient to avoid cutting any services for students.

That public meeting starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the central office on Caldwell Street in Paducah. A special meeting to vote on the tax rate happens right after.

You could notice the tax increase as early as this January.

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