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Park Hill Trying to Make Good on Promise Not to Increase Taxes

Local property taxes fund more than 60 percent of the Park Hill School District's budget. Art Credit: Stock Image from 123rf

When Park Hill asked taxpayers to approve $49.5 million in bonds last spring, the district promoted this vote as a “No-Tax-Increase Bond Issue.” Which is why, when the Board of Education holds its annual tax levy hearing next Thursday, school board members are going to do their best to keep property taxes from rising.

Property taxes account for more than 60 percent of revenues in the Park Hill budget, and property valuations have decreased over the last few years in the economic downturn. Tax levies to support schools are based on the value of property in the district. According to state law regulating school funding, Park Hill should increase its tax levy by $0.03 this year. However, the Board of Education is considering a voluntary rollback of the $0.03, which would keep property taxes at the same level they were last year.

In the meantime, students going back to school this week did so in the midst of a construction boom funded by the bonds voters approved last April. Topping the list of projects funded by the $49.5 million in bond money is design and construction of a new $14 million elementary school to relieve overcrowding. Enrollment has increased from just over 9,000 students ten years ago to more than 10,000 students during the 2010-2011 school year.

In addition to breaking ground for the new school, the district is in the midst of replacing roofs on buildings throughout the district, repairing asphalt and concrete, updating technology, installing security cameras and fire alarm systems and adding more classroom space at Park Hill High School. These are only some of the improvements, which will be phased in and are slated to be completed over the next several years.

The public tax levy hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, in the Park Hill District Office, 7703 N.W. Barry Road, in Kansas City, Mo. Citizens may voice their opinions at the meeting regarding the proposed property tax rate for this academic year. The school board’s regular monthly meeting will take place at 7 p.m. immediately after the tax levy hearing.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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