The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

August 25, 2013

Joplin School Board to set tax rate

By Emily Younker

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Board of Education will set the school district’s property tax rate for the year after a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday night.

The proposed levy for 2013-14 is $3.66 per $100 of assessed valuation, the same rate the district set last year, according to Superintendent C.J. Huff.

By law, the district must set the operating levy at a minimum $2.75. The other 91 cents is for debt service.

At the proposed rate, the owner of a $100,000 house would pay about $695 a year in school taxes.

The hearing begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by the board’s regular monthly meeting.

Huff said he also plans to give a presentation to the board Tuesday about House Bill 253, which would cut state income and business taxes. The bill was approved by the Legislature and subsequently vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, who has said the bill would divert hundreds of millions of dollars from public education.

Legislators could override his veto during their upcoming fall session. Several school districts around the state, including Diamond, have passed resolutions urging lawmakers to sustain the governor’s veto.

Huff said that although the bill’s impact is difficult to predict, the cut in taxes could cost the district between $700,000 and $1.9 million annually, according to varying estimates. Estimates given to the Missouri Association of School Administrators list potential annual cuts to Joplin at $1.7 million to nearly $3 million, according to the governor’s office.

“The financial impact’s pretty significant,” Huff said.

In other business Tuesday, the board will also consider:

• A $131,855 bid from Athco for playground equipment for two play areas at the new Irving Elementary School and one play area at Soaring Heights Elementary School. Installation of the equipment will come at a later date as construction of the schools progresses, according to the proposal.

• Setting the tuition rate for nonresident students at $6,192 for the 2013-14 academic year. That would be up from $5,776 last year.

• A number of change orders and contract amendments to the safe room projects at Stapleton, McKinley, Junge Field, Irving and East Middle School, and to the Joplin High School project.

• A portable dental program, in collaboration with Access Family Care, that would provide dental services to Joplin students. The proposal would allow Access staff to give oral health education in the district and treat students on-site for minor dental needs.

The district would be responsible for students’ consent forms, medical history, treatment authorization and insurance forms. The cost to the district would include providing lunch trays to dental staff members as well as space for the setup of equipment, which would be provided by Access staff.

Meeting details

The Joplin Board of Education will meet at 5:30 p.m. for a work session and at 7 p.m. Tuesday for its regular meeting at the administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St. The board has also scheduled closed sessions for legal and real estate matters and personnel issues.