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Forum - Questions and Answers

Questions from the Forum

8/29/13

 

  1. Are the two growth nickels Scott County schools levies included in the chart on page 8 of the brochure?

The tax rate for Scott County on page 8 of the brochure actually includes not only the two (2) nickels referred to in the question, but a third nickel as well.

 

  1. Will the tax referendum be stated such that a 9 cent vote will also count as a vote for a lesser tax increase amount if it comes to that?

If a tax increase is placed on a general election ballot, voters must indicate “yes” or “no” only for the tax increase as it is written on the ballot.  Per KRS 132.017, “In an election held under paragraph (a) or (b) of this subsection, the question shall be so framed that the voter may by his or her vote answer ‘for’ or ‘against.’”

 

  1. What is meant by Academic Accountability Percentile? How is it defined and measured?

Each school district in Kentucky receives a score on a scale from 0-100 from their annual state accountability tests.  Percentile rankings are then determined from those scores.  Scott County scored a 59.1.  This equates to the 77th percentile out of all 174 school districts in Kentucky.

 

  1. What is the timeline if the public were to choose to levy the tax?  What would the procedure be?

The Board of Education must follow a specific timeline when considering tax increases.

 

Two advertisements for a tax increase hearing by the Board must be placed (one each week over two consecutive weeks) in the newspaper.  The Board must meet for this hearing no less than seven (7) days and no more than ten (10) days after the second advertisement to hear any comments about the proposed tax increase.  The Board would then need to hold a Board meeting to vote on the tax increase.

 

If the Board approves a recallable tax increase, within seven (7) days another advertisement must be placed in the newspaper informing the community of the additional tax increase.  Members of the community have forty-five (45) days to submit a valid petition with the Scott County Clerk’s office.  The County Clerk has thirty (30) days to certify the petition.  If the petition is certified as sufficient, the Board of Education can either cancel the tax increase or place the matter on a ballot subject to voter decision.

 

  1. Why is it that neighboring school districts are able to build their schools so much cheaper?  What are we doing wrong?

Scott County Schools constructs facilities with low maintenance materials and equipment and energy efficiency providing sustainability for the life of our facilities.  A recent Scott County construction bid (Phase 1 of Lemons Mill) from December 2011 was $188 per sq./ft. which is in the range of other schools being built in central Kentucky around that time.  Lesser priced schools may have less expensive materials and equipment and also could include less site work and utility costs for the total project.

 

 

  1. Why is there not an option 5 to use tax money to build the high school in phases using Elkhorn Crossing as the starting phase?  What role would Elkhorn Crossing play with two high schools?  What happened to the original plan to make Elkhorn Crossing a high school?  Can the current Elkhorn Crossing School be augmented to become a second high school or at least used to alleviate some of the crowding at SCHS?

The District Facility Plan states that a second high school would be built adjacent to Elkhorn Crossing School.  Elkhorn Crossing will serve both Scott County High School and the second high school.  Instructionally and programmatically Elkhorn Crossing is a tremendous success and should continue as such for both schools.

 

As of 8/21/13, Elkhorn Crossing had 395 students attending in the morning and 392 in the afternoon.  These students are not at the 9th Grade School and high school during these times which does help to alleviate crowding.

 

  1. Have projections for the student enrollment taken into account the number of new building permits as a measure of the growing number of students in Scott County?

The student enrollment projection shared in the forum brochure is based on historic trends and mirrors the yearly growth projections produced by the University of Louisville (from the 2010 census).  In addition, a representative from the local Planning and Zoning department is a member of the Local Planning Committee that develops the district facility plan every four (4) years and provides additional data helpful in decision making.

 

  1. Will the tax increase (if it is approved) be ear-marked specifically for a new high school?  How will it be mandated that taxes will go to a high school only?

That is something the Scott County Board of Education will need to decide.

 

  1. How do the numbers in the pamphlet compare to the actual number to students that showed up at all the schools?

The student enrollment numbers in the forum brochure are actual enrollment numbers taken on 8/15/13 (K-8) and 8/21/13 (9-12).  In order to allow for beginning of the year schedule changes, Scott County High School, the 9th Grade School, and Elkhorn Crossing had a few extra days to report their student numbers.

 

  1. What is the most likely location of the proposed new high school?  Does the county own land which is suitable for a new high school or will we have to buy land?

The new high school will be built on the same property as Elkhorn Crossing.  This property was purchased in 2005.

 


 

 

  1. Was the public not told on the "famous" Valentine’s Day meeting that if we got an increase we could start building in 2013?  Since 2012, hasn't there already been 2 tax increases?  Where is the confirmation that the money will be used for a high school?

Each year, the Board has the ability to adjust tax rates to produce 4% more property tax revenue than from the previous year without being subject to a voter recall.  The Scott County Board of Education has approved this tax rate adjustment each of the past two years. In 2012-2013, the tax rate was adjusted to 45.3.  In 2013-2014, the tax rate was adjusted to 47.2.  Any increased revenue has been used to offset decreases in state funding.

 

All building projects require Board approval. The Board did not approve any building project for a new high school on February 14, 2012.

 

  1.  Would Toyota Manufacturing be able to help?  How do they contribute to Scott County?

Toyota is subject to the Occupational License Tax and pays the same property tax rate as any other business in Scott County.

 

  1. Is it possible to incorporate a pool in the new high school?

The Board has not approved any specific plans for what would be included in a new high school.

 

  1. How will it be mandated that the increase taxes will only go to the new high school?

It is possible for the Board to articulate this in the wording for a tax increase.

 

  1. If so many schools are over capacity why are they allowed to have open enrollment?  Why do you allow open enrollment at elementary schools once that school has reached its capacity?

Open enrollment has actually helped Scott County Schools balance enrollment throughout the entire district.  The open enrollment policy allows parents to request open enrollment for numerous reasons including an older sibling in the school and child care needs.

 

  1. How much money is spent/used on each pupil in Scott County?  Jefferson County has documented theirs, not by the state?

Each district’s expenditure per pupil is recorded on the district/school report cards and available on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website: http://applications.education.ky.gov/src/Default.aspx.

 

In 2011-2012, Scott County expended $9,214 per pupil.  In 2012-2013, Scott County expended $9,084 per pupil.

 


 

 

  1. With the increase of expense to build a high school comes an increase in expense for teacher salaries. Where is the planning for that expense?  How will that be funded especially when current teacher salaries are low?  Can we make [pay increases for staff] relevant to surrounding counties?  What about the disparity in teacher salaries?

Scott County teacher salaries are comparable to surrounding districts with the exception of Fayette County.

 

There will be some increased expenditures in staffing for positions such as custodians, cafeteria staff, and other support staff (secretary, bookkeeper, coaches, etc.).  However, as students move from SCHS to the new school, an adjustment of teachers will follow as calculated by the staffing formula.  In other words, some teachers will have to follow the students as they enroll at the new school.

 

  1. Can we lobby the state to increase SEEK money?  What are we doing to encourage our legislators to increase SEEK funds?

We always advocate for an increase in state funding for education, not only as a school district, but also through educational organizations such as the Kentucky School Board Association (KSBA), Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA), Kentucky Education Association (KEA), and Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS).  Any concerned individual is always encouraged to contact their local legislator to express concerns about education funding.

 

  1. What happens to the money after the school is built.

It is up to the Board of Education to determine the purpose and length of any tax increase.

 

  1. Where is the money going to come from to fix the first high school when all the money is being spent on the second high school?  How are you addressing this [middle school needs] at the same time as the high school?

A concern for any school district is always the funding for facility needs, both for new construction and maintenance of existing buildings.  This is something that the Board of Education will need to address.

 

  1. What is the total amount that has been spent on Lemons Mill Elementary?

The funded cost for Phase 1 and 2 is $26,782,621.  As discussed during the public forum this includes approximately 22% “soft costs” such as architect, construction manager, bond sale costs, contingency, furniture/equipment, technology/phones, special testing, insurance, and legal fees.

 

  1. Where will a new school play sports if there is no place for the first school?

Any new sports teams will need to play on the fields currently used by Scott County Schools.  Additional room for athletics is something that the Board of Education will need to address in the future.  Space exists for future athletic facilities on the site of the future high school campus.  The cost of future athletic fields is not included in the estimated cost of the high school presented at the public forum.

 


 

 

  1. Are taxes the only option to raise funds?

One of the purposes in holding the public forums was to ask the community for additional options.  The district and Board encourage all suggestions with the understanding that some ideas may not be legally, financially, or instructionally possible.

 

  1. What are other ways to decrease costs?

Scott County Schools continually looks for ways to decrease costs.  Out district-wide focus on energy management is one successful example of this effort.

 

  1. A new high school is needed but there is a lot of fear/concern about the impact on our award winning sports team, band, etc.  Any thoughts on that and more importantly how would it impact the availability of AP classes to our students?

As we plan for a new high school we will strive to create academic, co- curricular, extra-curricular, and athletic options at both schools. 

 

  1. Why only .09 cents?   Why not $0.12 or $0.15?

Under current conditions, nine cents was projected to increase bonding potential so that a new high school could be constructed as soon as possible. 

 

  1.  What about foreign language teachers (German and Japanese) in both high schools? 

As the new high school is being planned, concerns such as program equity among the two schools will be planned for and considered.

 

 

 

 

9/19/13

 

  1. If both forums are “official board meetings” – who is taking minutes?

Both forums, which were official board meetings,were video recorded and general notes were taken by a staff member.  The minutes for the first community forum held on 8/19/13 were approved at the next regular board meeting (9/10/13).  The minutes from the second community forum (9/19/13) were approved at the board meeting on 9/26/13.

 

  1. In a new high school can methods for “life skills” be included in the construction (i.e., drivers’ education, taking care of family, financial responsibility, job skills, not engineering or high tech, but importance of non-college, non-BCTC jobs, etc.)?

As we plan for a new high school we will take into consideration many different instructional strategies and techniques in order to ensure student learning.

 

  1. Where or what plan does the Scott County Board of Education have for the additional students legally required to remain in school that would previously drop out before 18?

Scott County Schools was one of the districts awarded a grant by the Kentucky Department of Education to help plan for and implement raising the dropout age to 18.A committee has been formed to help develop a plan to create opportunities for students who may consider dropping out before the age of 18.The district will continue to look for strategies to accommodate all students’ learning styles.

 

  1. Although we have discussed “new high school” building costs, how would fixed operating costs, teachers, etc. be paid and funded?

A large portion of teachers at a new high school would follow students (due to the Scott County Schools staffing formula) moving from Scott County High School to the new school.There will be some increased costs for additional teachers.As enrollment increases, additional staff is always needed.There will also be some increased expenditures in staffing for positions such as custodians, cafeteria staff, and other support staff (secretary, bookkeeper, coaches, etc.).

 

Operating costs for a new school would increase the total operating costs for the district.  The district-wide focus on energy management is one successful example of the district’s continued efforts to reduce operating costs.

 

  1. How does the Board plan to maintain the wide variety of classes and activities currently offered at SCHS?

Some of the planning to address program equity between two high schools cannot occur until a decision is made by the Board regarding a specific timeline for a new high school.Additionally, some of those decisions would need to be made collaboratively between the Board and district and school administration.

 

  1. How does our academic accountability percentile ranking in the state breakdown when you just look at the high school test scores compared to the other counties referenced on the front page graph on the forum handout?

Scott County High School scored at the 87th percentile (based on 2012-2013 state assessment data released publically on 9/27/13).

 

Out of the 17 high schools in the 11 school districts represented on the graph in the forum brochure, Scott County High School’s accountability score is the seventh highest (based on 2012-2013 state assessment data released publically on 9/27/13).

 

  1. What successful county are we modeling our decision after?  Have we benchmarked other counties?

At different points in time and based on the specific nature of individual issues, we have contacted many districts to have questions answered.Just as many districts call us to have their questions answered.These counties include those mentioned in the forum brochure as well as many others.

 

  1. Has the Board gathered opinions from current high school students?

The Board has not gathered any formal data from students regarding a new high school.However, student feedback is important to the decision making process.An example of how students have been involved in decision making processes is in their feedback regarding the new career village at Elkhorn Crossing.The creation of the Law and Justice village is a direct result from the overwhelming response from students.

 


 

 

  1. Much has been made of our lower tax rate.  However, our school system receives tax funds from other sources such as utilities.  What are all other sources of our tax funding and how does that compare to surrounding counties?

The additional funding was shared both in the original forum brochure but also in the addendum shared at the second community forum.Below are some charts from the brochure and addendum that share that information again.

 

The third chart below shows other districts in central Kentucky and their tax rates from 2012-2013.

 

  1. Could we consider an 11 cent tax increase?

One of the purposes in holding the public forums was to ask the community for additional options.  The district and Board encourage all suggestions with the understanding that some ideas may not be legally, financially, or instructionally possible.

PDF FILE WITH CHARTS

 





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