Paris School electors hike tax levy 28 percent

paris school bldgElectors in the Paris School District passed a preliminary tax levy that calls for a 28 percent increase, largely due to the taxing authority granted in a June referendum.

But that levy could have been 12 percent higher yet, reported district administrator Roger Gahart. The district chose not to use all the levy authority it was granted in the  referendum.

“The board is not, with the current budget, applying that full tax levy,” Gahart said.

The action came at the district’s annual meeting. The meeting is the one time during the year that electors instead of the board take action on behalf of the district. The levy approval was approved on a voice vote, with a few no’s also expressed.

But the $2.19 million levy could change again. That’s because it is in part based on state aid information that could change depending on the school’s official third Friday in September enrollment count. If a new levy is needed, the board will need to pass it between mid-October, when final state aid information generally is available, and a state mandated Nov. 1 deadline.

The current budget is based on an anticipated 176 enrollment. Last year’s enrollment  at the end of the year was 200. The eighth grade class that graduated last year was relatively large and the kindergarten class coming in is small, Gahart said.

Extensive discussion ensued amongst the more than 50 people in attendance during the budget hearing portion of the meeting. Most of the questions focused on the $390,000 in next year’s budget to be used for staff retirement benefits.

Retired teachers from the district with at least 25 years service receive eight years of health insurance and a three-year stipend.  Here’s Gahart explaining some history relating to the district’s post employment obligations:

In answer to electors’ questions on the topic, board President Leslie Holloway said the board intends to push hard to reduce retirement benefits starting with the teacher  contract currently under negotiation — even to the point of going to arbitration.

But one elector, Doug Boss, had a different take on teacher benefits:

Last year’s tax levy was $1.71 million.



  1. Northwestern Mike says:

    I wanted to response Doug Boss’s comment at the annual meeting, but there was not an opportunity. Paris residents are paying for three retirements for the teachers. Talk to remove Post Employment Benefits has no effect on social security or teacher pensions that are still provided. Post Employment Benefits have cost $1.2 million since 2000 and will cost $2.1 million by 2017. This and the salary schedule is killing the school budget and is causing the 28% property tax increase. Consider that Post Employment Benefits for next year of $390,000 is 90% of the referendum amount of $435,000. Someone needs to pay attention to school costs because problems are not solved just by raising taxes.

  • Follow us on

  • Archives