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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Skyline boosts tax levy

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  • A dying HVAC control system has prompted the Skyline Board of Education to more than double the mil levy for the capital outlay fund.
    The Board voted unanimously Monday night to increase the mil levy from 3.5 mils to 8 mils for a period not to exceed five years, said Superintendent Mike Sanders.
    For months, the HVAC controls have been failing in various area of the school. In one classroom it feels cold enough to hang meat and in a room across the hall its 80 degrees, Sanders said.
    The district put out bids to replace the controls and Sandifer’s bid of $92,700 was the lowest bid and was accepted.
    That one item will take 95 percent of the district’s capital outlay of $105,000 and there are other issues that need to be addressed, Sanders said.
    It was for that reason that the Board of Education voted to increase the mil levy.
    While this is an increase for the taxpayers, it may not have as much of an impact as it might seem. The Legislature voted in a tax break of 3.5 mils on education funding that will come close to making the increase a wash, Sanders said.
    The Board considered another option of taking out a bond against three years of future capital outlay but that would have included $27,000 in fees.
    Besides the HVAC controls three roof units need to be replaced at a cost of $7,000 to $8,000 apiece and that would almost equal the cost of the fees for a bond.
    The Board decided to go with the levy increase to keep the money to pay for district needs rather than have it go to a bond company.
    The resolution for the mil levy increase will be published in the Tribune and the public will have 40 days to petition after that publication.
    The original main building at Skyline is approaching 50 years of age and it takes a lot of money for upkeep.
    “People in the district need to decide if they want us here and want us for the long term,” Sanders said.
    Also during the Monday meeting, the Board signed the document calling for a one percent increase in the Local Option Budget. The public will vote on that issue in a special election scheduled for Tuesday, June 10.
    The current LOB is at 30 percent and it can’t go higher than that without a vote.
    If the public approves the one percent increase, the board will vote in July to move the increase from one to three percent. That three percent increase will come up for a public vote to maintain the three percent permanently in June 2015.
    Page 2 of 2 - If a person has a $100,00 home it will cost the homeowner an additional 95 cents a month of less than $12 a year, according to Sanders.
    Skyline will use the generated funds to cover a 20 percent increase in costs for the South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative to cover the increase in cost of their health care, Sanders said.
    Every member of the SCKSEC will be hit with this increase and Skyline will then have to pay $31,000 for SCKSEC and double that the next year.
    With the LOB at the 30 percent limit, the district can’t access carryover above that the 30 percent.
    Two elements have caused the carryover beyond the 30 percent limit. Valuations have gone up for five years in the county and the county has a 98 percent tax collection rate so the unencumbered carryover for the past five years is at $220,000.
    An increase in the LOB would give the district access to around $105,000 in additional funds, Sanders said.

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