Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Four Warren school districts seek money

Funding issues may be on May 6 ballot

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

LEBANON - Voters in four Warren County communities could be asked to approve money issues May 6 that would add classrooms in the Kings and Franklin schools and keep the Wayne and Carlisle districts in the black.

The Franklin and Kings school boards are expected to take the final step today to put a $16.7 million bond issue on the ballot in Franklin and a $43 million issue in Kings.

"We have some issues," said Franklin Superintendent Kim Gray. "We're overcrowded at our elementaries, our buildings are old and not wired for (computer) labs, and we have `art on a cart.' "

The bond issue would allow the district to add classrooms at its elementary schools and a wing at its junior high school so that sixth-graders could move there, freeing up additional elementary classrooms. The money also would pay to replace the roof at the high school, make improvements at the stadium and improve fire alarm/security systems, windows, doors and other projects throughout the district.

Franklin Treasurer Jana Bellamy estimated it would take a 2.84-mill issue, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 house an additional $87 a year for the next 28 years.

In the Kings Schools, the bond issue would pay to double the size of Kings High School and add 29,000 square feet to the junior high, plus make other improvements. Treasurer Michael Mowery estimated it would take a 4.49-mill bond issue that would raise taxes about $138 annually on a $100,000 home.

In the Wayne Local Schools, voters will be asked to approve a 10-mill levy that replaces three emergency levies that expire by the end of 2004 and adds 4.85 mills, said Treasurer Ron James.

The five-year levy would bring in $1.5 million, with a net increase of $148 each of the next five years beginning in January 2004on a house with a market value of $100,000, James said.

The money would be used to avoid a deficit and cover double-digit increases in medical costs and a projected drop in state aid.

The cost of insurance rose 27.8 percent last year, 15 percent this year and is expected to increase another 18 percent next year, James said.

In Carlisle, voters are being asked to approve a 1 percent income tax. It would make the district the first in Warren County to approve an income tax for schools.

Superintendent Tim McLinden estimated the income tax would bring $1.4 million annually to the district. As residents' incomes increased, so would the district's revenue, which would help keep up with inflation, McLinden said.

An expiring levy that would not be renewed if the income tax were approved would reduce taxes for a $100,000 home about $206 annually, McLinden said. Without additional revenue, the district faces a deficit by June 2004 McLinden said.

E-mail suek@infi.net

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