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Education

Jackson school tax rate to stay the same

The Jackson R-2 School District set their tax rate at $3.80 per $100 assessed valuation. This is the same rate the district has had for the past 14 years.

Despite not raising the rate, the assessed valuation in the district has risen, giving the district an additional $870,000 compared to last year’s property tax revenue.

That was an increase of 4.5 percent, but the budget was only increased by 3 percent. Director of Finance Terry Gibson said this works to the district’s advantage and gives them some safety for the future.

“I think we’ve been pretty frugal to stay where we are at,” Superintendent John Link said. “There’s only one school that’s larger than us and has a lower tax rate — that’s Waynesville and it’s because they are on an army base.”

Link added that the district is currently the 37th largest school district in Missouri, but their tax rate ranks 325th in the state.

He also added that enrollment has grown from 4,415 to 5,368 students since the $3.80 tax rate was established.

“In 2006, we were spending $3,101 per child,” Link said. “In 2017, we are spending $4,600 per child. That’s a big increase in 11 years, when you think about all of the technology and all of the increases in academics.”

It was also noted that funds from the state has gone down since the rate was established. In 2006, the district received $737,000 a year for transportation costs. Today, despite the growth in enrollment, that funding is down to $370,000 a year.

Link said the district has been able to make great improvements in the past year, both in construction and academically.

He added that he is happy to stay true to the district’s promise to complete all the Proposition J improvements without raising taxes.

If property taxes are fully collected, the district is estimated to receive $20.26 million this year in tax revenue.

The district held a public hearing on the tax rate on Aug. 27. No comments from the public were given.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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