In their meeting Monday night, the Bond County Unit 2 School Board proposed a tentative tax levy of $7,979,223, an increase of 12.25% over the previous year.
WGEL spoke with Unit 2 Superintendent Jeff Strieker about the reasons for the dramatic increase.
“Ultimately we were looking at a relatively flat EAV [Equalized Assessed Valuation] going into the next assessment season,” Strieker told us. “As you know there were some changes and some concerns with revenues lost from all of the taxing bodies in Bond County with regards to the hospital assessment and our district did lose…about $270,000 in assessed dollars from last year’s levy, pertaining to exemptions that needed to be included in last year’s assessment.
“Certainly, passing a budget with a $1.1 million deficit and seeing, really, no relief from the state, it became very apparent to our board and to me that we needed to look at capturing the dollars necessary to keep our programs in the best possible conditions moving forward.”
Strieker also detailed some of the district’s efforts to curtail expenses.
“We’re trying to get back closer to a balanced budget,” Strieker said. “Our board of education, administration, faculty, and staff are doing everything we can to cut costs in every area and we’ve done so over the last four years. We have reduced staff, we have cut back amounts that we have allocated for supplies, equipment, and things of that nature. We’ve reduced spending in extracurriculars. And we’re asking for folks to step up to the plate to help cover those costs.”
Strieker told WGEL he hopes some of the questions facing the district will begin to be answered in the new year when the new governor announces his budget and details his plan to roll back the income tax.
A public hearing regarding the proposed 12.25% increase in the tax levy will be held Monday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Greenville Junior High cafeteria.