North Platte approves ballot language for tax waiver

DEARBORN, Mo. -- The North Platte Board of Education approved the ballot language for a measure that would give the district a full-waiver from a proposition C rollback at its regular meeting Oct. 16 at North Platte Junior High School. Voter approval in the April, 2015 election would allow the district to operate at the voter-approved ceiling of $3.7545 per $100 of valuation. Currently, the district operates under a partial waiver passed by voters in 1995, effectively making the ceiling $3.65. The district once held a full waiver – passed in 1997 with a 15-year sunset clause – and now seek to again have that ability.

Last year, the district operated at $3.63 per $100 leaving them short of the Proposition C ceiling – calculated by the state auditor’s office.

The board unanimously approved the language which will be sent to the county board of elections in December when filing for the April election opens.

“I think it’s always good to have dialogue,” North Platte superintendent Dr. Jeff Sumy said. “What Prop C means. How Prop C affects us. What the 10 cents means to our budget. I think those are good conversations.”

The task now becomes having those discussions with the taxpayers of the North Platte School District.

Proposition C was passed in 1982, creating a 1 percent statewide sales tax to help fund education. When passed, school districts agreed to roll back local taxes to help prevent double taxation — sales and then property tax on the same items.

The ballot language approved as follows will be known as Proposition 2: “Shall the Board of Education of the North Platte County R-I School District, Missouri, be authorized eliminate fully the Proposition C Sales Tax Rollback in its operating tax levy under Section 164.013 R.S.Mo. in order to maintain student programs, retain qualified staff, maintain its facilities, maintain adequate transportation services, and meet the operating expenses of the District? (If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating levy of the District is estimated to increase from $3.65, currently, to $3.7545 per one hundred dollars of assessed valuation in Tax Year 2015 and thereafter.)”

The language, although approved by the board, can be tweaked up until it is submitted to the county with a separate board vote.

The board also approved in principal the transfer of the district’s vocational tech program to Hillyard Technical in St. Joseph, Mo.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must receive a letter of intent from the district by Nov. 4, which comes before the board’s next meeting. The board unanimously approved the change in programs.

The change will save the district up to $1,500 per student with slight differences in transportation costs, although savings will not be seen right away. Sumy will still explore the option of allowing two-students in the diesel program — not offered currently at Hillyard — to continue to attend the Northland Career Center in Platte City.

North Platte will also pay just as if they had students attending the center next year because payments are made each year based on the number of students enrolled the previous year.

The board also approved a resolution opposing Missouri Amendment 3 which is on the November general election ballot. Amendment 3 would tie teacher tenure and pay to performance standards set by each local district in accordance with minimum state-set standards in each subject.