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New certified property tax rate approved for West Carroll

Property owners in the West Carroll Special School District will continue to pay around the same amount in school district property taxes following action taken by the West Carroll Board of Education at the Aug. 13 meeting.

Board members voted unanimously to set the rate in accordance with the new certified rate of $1.2207 per $100 of assessed property value recommended by the state.

And while the former rate was $1.3486, Director of Schools Dexter Williams pointed out that the new rate should bring in approximately the same amount of revenue for the school district since local property values have gone up on average since the last state re-appraisal.

Before the vote, however, there was some discussion by the board regarding the possible need to raise the tax rate in the future.

Outgoing board member Mike Foster pointed out that the district is project to go over $113,000 in the red in the new budget passed by the board back in July.

“We have a healthy fund balance, but we can’t just keep dipping into it,” said Foster, who suggested that they might think about raising the tax rate in small increments over the next few years rather than hitting property owners with one big tax increase sometime down the road.

Board member Patrick Lindsey, who made the motion to approve the new certified rate, said they will need to give property owners plenty of warning before raising their taxes.

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In other business:

•Board chairman William Robinson presented outgoing board member Mike Foster with a plaque in honor of his 20 years of service as a school board member. Foster opted not to seek re-election in the Aug. 4 election.

•Williams provided the board with compiled results of the board’s yearly evaluation of his job performance. On a scale of 1-4, the board rated Williams’ performance at 3.2 overall with scores of 3.3 for board relations, 2.8 for financial management, 3.2 for staff relations, 3.1 for instructional leadership, and 3.6 for community/public relations.

•Katherine Kahlon with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) advised the board regarding TDOT’s plans to appropriate two pieces of school district-owned property as part of the new State Route 76 project. Kahlon said TDOT is offering the district a total of $50,715 for the two properties – one of which is near the Board of Education building and will encroach on that facility’s parking lot. Kahlon said the district can refuse the offer, at which point the matter would be brought before a state court for a decision, or the district can make a counter offer as long as documented reasons are given for a higher price for the property. Kahlon said TDOT is looking to have all needed property for the project acquired by Jan. 13 of next year, and she encouraged the board to consider the offer and hopefully give her an answer at the September board meeting.

•Mandy Drewry with Coordinated School Health gave a presentation on all the health related programs and activities her organization has conducted in West Carroll schools over the past year.

•The board voted 4-1 to approve the 2020-21 Disciplinary Hearing Authority Committee, which includes Jackie Wester, Tracy Foster, Kelly Todd, Shane DePriest, Regina Alred, and Crystal Polinski. Lindsey voted against the measure.

•Linda Black advised the board regarding all the grants the school system has received over the past year.

•The board voted to hire an extra full-time nurse for the school district to help existing nursing staff deal with COVID-19-related issues.

•The purchase and installation of additional plexiglass barriers at the junior-senior high school and athletic concession stands was approved.

•A revised 2020-21 school calendar was approved.

•The board approved the district’s continued membership in TSBA, TSSE, TOSS, and AIMS.

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