School board lowers proposed tax increase, approves superintendent search procedures

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School board lowers proposed tax increase, approves superintendent search procedures

By RACHEL HEATON
rheaton@islandpacket.com
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012   |  530 Words  |  

The property tax increase requested by the Beaufort County School District could be cut in half.

The Board of Education approved a motion Tuesday night that would lower the property tax increase requested for the district's 2012-13 budget.

Originally, the district had requested an increase amounting to about $30 more a year on a non-owner occupied home valued at $250,000. By state law, owner-occupied homes can not be taxed for school district operations.

That increase, along with the district's $177.9 million budget, was approved by County Council in late June. Council approves the school district's budget and sets its tax rate.

On Tuesday, district chief of operations Phyllis White told the school board that less money would be needed from taxes thanks to the increase in state funding. On a 9-1 vote, the board approved lowering the requested increase to about $15 on a non-owner occupied home valued at $250,000. Board member Michael Rivers objected, and board members Steven Morello, Julie Bell and Bill Evans were absent.

White said that while the larger increase would have improved the district's financial picture in years to come, it made sense to lower the burden on taxpayers since the district received about $1 million more than anticipated from the state.

The district now expects to spend $568,000 in fund reserves after the decrease.

County Council is expected to officially set the tax rate this month.

The board also approved a number of motions related to the search for the district's new superintendent. Current superintendent Valerie Truesdale accepted a job in the Charlotte-Meckenburg, N.C., school district and will leave by Oct. 1.

The motions were recommended by the board's superintendent search committee, which met for the first time Friday.

Those motions included:

  • The board will enter into a contract with a search firm no later than Sept. 5.
  • The bidding process for the firm will be slightly different than the norm. The district will not have to take the lowest bidder, as would normally be required, under an approved change to the board's procurement policy.
  • The budget for the superintendent search will be approved by the end of September.
  • The search will be national in scope.
  • Despite some disagreement, the board voted to have a superintendent under contract by Feb. 1. The new superintendent would be on the job by July 1.
  • Board members elected in the November election will be involved in the selection of the new superintendent, despite not being seated until January.
  • Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

    Related content:

    Beaufort County school board passes budget that includes iPads, calls for tax hike; May 18, 2012


    Council approves school district's budget, tax increase; June 26, 2012

    New board members could play role in Beaufort County school superintendent selection; Aug. 3, 2012