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NH proposed tax rate close to last year’s

NH proposed tax rate close to last year’s NH proposed tax rate close to last year’s
By Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

The proposed tax rate for the North Harrison Community School Corp. closely resembles last year’s rate.

Nathan Freed made the presentation Thursday night during the 2023 budget hearing prior to the board of trustees’ regular meeting.

It was Freed’s first time to publicly present a budget for the school corporation; he was named superintendent this summer following the retirement of Dr. Lance Richards.

Freed said the budget is $24,833,250. He is advertising a tax rate of $1.46 per $100 of assessed value of property.

“That sounds astronomically, but it won’t be that high,” he said, adding that the rate is advertised high because it can only be lowered once it is advertised.

Last year’s proposed rate was $1.50 per $100 but ended up at 75 cents. Freed said the new rate will likely be about 77 cents.

The school corporation’s budget consists of three categories: Education Fund, Operations Fund and Debt Service Fund. Freed said until about five years ago, there were more funds but the state since changed it to three.

Freed explained that the money in the Education Fund comes from the state.

“The dollars follow the student,” he said.

The amount is determined by the school corporation’s student population that is calculated twice a year, once in the fall and again in late winter.

“Typically that number will be higher in September,” Freed said.

North Harrison Community School Corp. has about 2,100 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

In addition to money from the state and property taxes, the school corporation receives riverboat funds as allocated by the Harrison County Council.

Freed said the amount received from 2019 to 2020 dropped “a little bit,” from $620,764.47 to $607,989.70 but dropped “significantly” from 2021 when North Harrison received $547,678.19 to a total of $253,686.31 this year.

“There’s always the fear (riverboat funds) will go away the following year,” Freed said. “We certainly hope it does not.”

The county council also gives the schools money from the riverboat debt reduction fund, which North Harrison uses to “offset some of its debt,” Freed said. “That helps keep taxes low.”

For the past four years, NHCSC has received in excess of $800,000.

“Taxes would be raised if it did go away,” Freed said.

When asked by a taxpayer about the possibility of riverboat funds being eliminated, Freed said he and Dr. Steve Hatton, assistant superintendent, have both been before the county council in recent weeks and stressed how important those funds are to the school corporation.

The budget is set to be adopted next month.

The school board’s regular monthly meeting followed the budget hearing, with a few personnel items on the agenda.

Appointments approved were for Caitlyn Burson ass girls’ varsity tennis coach, senior class sponsor and Yearbook sponsor; Marla Sieberns, corporation bus driver for the Prosser route; Ted Goldman, volunteer fifth-grade girls’ basketball assistant; Tonny Ratliff, volunteer boys’ middle school tennis assistant; Rhonda Rowe, high school drama sponsor; Lisa Rathgeber, North Harrison Elementary instructional assistant; Amanda Evans, color guard assistant; Yahir Velasco, marching tech; Julie Wade, middle school Science Olympiad sponsor; and Kelly Book and Daniel Andry, high school Science Olympiad and STEM Club co-sponsors.

During board member communications, Kristina Gunter said, upon doing some inquiring, learned that school staff has not been instructed to use the pledge of allegiance time to “dress code” students. Gunter looked into that situation after a statement was made at last month’s board meeting that teachers were using that time to check students’ attire.

Gunter added that the board decided to begin looking at the current dress code policy to see where changes might be made.

Eric Stroud gave an update on the playground equipment to be installed at North Harrison Elementary School, saying, “I know it sounds like a broken record, … but it’s on hold again.”

Hatton reported that NHCSC had secured a safety grant that would be used to hired an additional school resource officer.

“Not all schools that applied received funds,” he said, adding the grant would require a match.