Wednesday, September 10, 2003

'Nickel tax' likely to pass in Boone Co.

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

It's a one-time chance at millions of dollars for a couple of local school districts, and they're seizing the opportunity.

The Boone County Board of Education will vote on the "growth nickel tax" Thursday, a one-time levy authorized by the 2003 General Assembly for the state's 19 fastest-growing school districts.

It's expected to pass after three of the five board members said after last week's public hearing that they would support it.

The tax is not subject to voter approval and can be used only for debt service, new facilities or major renovations. It adds about 5 cents to tax bills per $100 of valuation on real and personal property.

"All of the money is going to stay in Boone County. None of it goes to Frankfort," said State Sen. Dick Roeding. "And with Boone County being the strongest large district in the state (based on accountability test scores), Boone Countians are getting what they are paying for."

The Boone County district has welcomed 1,500 new students in the last two years for a total of 15,301 - about 400 more than the seating capacity in the 18 schools. District officials predict enrollment will top 18,000 by 2009-10.

The Kenton County School District approved the same tax Aug. 25. Renovations on Dixie Heights and Simon Kenton high schools that may not have been completed for three to six years can be done next year with the additional nickel tax, according to Carl Wicklund, president of the Kenton County Board of Education.

Annual property taxes on a $100,000 home would go up $50 in Boone County.

The tax will raise $4.5 million and $3 million for the Boone and Kenton districts, respectively.

The Boone County vote will be Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ralph Rush Development Center, 103 Center St.

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