After months of wrangling with implications of Gov. Sam Brownback’s funding cuts to education, USD 410 board members faced a stark but simple choice at Monday’s budget hearing: Keep tax rates the same and make more cuts, or raise taxes to remain level in budget.
They chose the latter, increasing the 2016 budget by 2.988 mills, which will mean an extra $27.49 on the property tax bill for a $100,000 Hillsboro home. The amount will vary slightly for district taxing areas outside Hillsboro.
“Due to the reduction by the state in revenues, we just tried to maintain a flat budget,” board president Mark Rooker said. “We’re putting the responsibility back on local taxpayers.”
Rooker said the board was committed to maintaining the quality of education USD 410 provides and believed additional cuts would have negatively affected that.
“For the last three years we’ve gone through quite a bit of belt tightening,” he said. “We have cut people, teachers, and other items. Our scores show we’re still maintaining good quality of education in Hillsboro.”
Superintendent Steve Noble said the board reduced the tax hike proposed in the published budget by two mills.
The resulting increase essentially reversed the tax break district patrons got last year when the state was providing more funding.
“It’s a direct result of the reduction of state aid,” Noble said.