Tri-County board approves levy increase for Sept 12 ballot, no tax increase

            The Tri-County Board of Education has approved the language of a measure that would allow the school district to raise the Voted Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (VPPEL) rate from $.67 per thousand to a maximum of $1.34 if voted yes for the next school board election on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

            “VPPEL funds are used for a variety of different things around our district,” Tri-County Superintendent Chad Straight said. “There are a lot projects in our district that haven’t been done or haven’t been upgraded that the extra money would go towards. Replacement of our buses, repairs to our building, HVAC issues, your grounds, any of those types of projects come out of PPEL. You can apply it to so many things.”

            PPEL cannot be used to pay for employee salaries, according to Straight. Rather than raise taxes to accommodate the proposed rate increase, the district will lower the levy rate of the Management Levy to compensate. Currently, the Management Levy is used to pay for some of their non-health insurance premiums for buildings and grounds, along with early retirement incentives. The current rate for the levy is $1.58 per thousand, and would be reduced by $.67 if voted in.

            “The intent is that we can only use management funds for a select few items compared to levying for PPEL,” Straight said. “The Management Levy has a very limited number of uses, therefore, lowering the levy rate by yearly review for the Management Levy will not cause any operational issues at the school.”

            If the ballot item were to be voted in by the public on September 12, the amount generated by the new VPPEL rate would climb from $76,697 to $153,394. However, the Board could decide not to increase the rate to the maximum of $1.34. According to the ballot language, the PPEL levy will last for 10 years.   

            “The Board is set on not increasing the tax rate for our district,” Straight said. “They want to make sure it stays stable, but they want to be able to use the funds they levy to use for improving the district. We cannot simply take funds out of one account and put them into our PPEL, so this measure addresses that.”

            While Straight cannot voice support for or against the ballot item, questions regarding the measure can be directed to him at chad.straight@tri-countyschools.com.