Park Hill mulling 32-cent tax levy increase

Board will decide soon whether to place measure on April ballot

The Park Hill School District may seek a levy increase this spring to help fund its future technology education programs.

At the regular Board of Education meeting last week, Superintendent Dr. Scott Springston presented the Board with a possible plan and time line for funding of its Future Learners Project (FLiP) technology initiative. A potential 32-cent levy increase is on the slate for discussion. The Board is expected to vote on whether or not to place an increase on the April 5, 2014 election ballot at its Jan. 9 meeting. Springston said not only would the levy increase fund the FLiP program, which upon final roll-out would give one-to-one daily computer access to each student in the District beyond elementary school, but also would fund security upgrades. Last year, the District underwent a safety and security evaluation, which recommended upgrades such as the establishment of one secure entrance to the District high schools. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Paul Kelly presented a list of cost-cutting measures the District has implemented over the last few years, which added up to $12.4-million in savings. Board members pointed out, however, that the $1.5 million lost in the rollback of the District levy in previous years was not truly indicative of a cost-cutting measure. “The levy line on the bottom of the chart isn’t a true cut in expenditures,” Kelly said. “It is listed there as more of a commitment to taxpayers that we wouldn’t take more than necessary.” Springston noted that the District is funding the FLiP program through its reserve fund this year, but a levy increase would secure the future of the program. “We have spent a lot of time assessing and discussing needs and we think the 32 cents is the level we would need,” he said. If approved, according to the chart presented at the meeting, the average 2014 cost of the levy increase to owners of a $200,000 home in the District would be $37. The District would phase in the increase as needed over several years, with full implementation not expected until the 2017-18 school year.