Fayette County Board of Education Sets Property Tax Rates
Levy Will Nearly Triple Available Funding for School Facilities Projects
Fayette County Board of Education members voted Sept. 8 to set property tax rates that would generate enough funding to complete more than half the projects on its current facilities plan.
During the 2021-22 fiscal year, homeowners in Fayette County paid property taxes of 80.8 cents per $100 of assessed value. After the board’s vote, the rate approved for the 2022-23 fiscal year is 83.3 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The new rate would enable the board to borrow $540 million to modernize school facilities and build new schools to accommodate explosive housing growth throughout the county.
“Every student in the Fayette County Public Schools deserves to learn in a building that prepares them for the future,” said board Chair Tyler Murphy. “The current reality is that more than half of our school buildings have not been renovated in the past 25 years and one in 10 students in our district is learning in a portable classroom.”
The district’s current list of building needs tops $1 billion.
“Our community had the foresight 15 years ago to invest in school facilities and construction,” said Superintendent Demetrus Liggins. “Since then, FCPS has grown by nearly 8,000 students and 34 of the district’s 64 school buildings are new or completely modernized to meet 21st century standards.”
Every year, school boards in Kentucky are required to set local property tax rates that generate revenue to fund their public schools. This is a routine matter that happens each August, and the choice board members face is based on the total value of property in their county. Under state requirements, creating a dedicated revenue stream for school facilities in Kentucky usually requires a 5.5-cent property tax known as a “facilities nickel.”
“The current landscape created a unique opportunity for FCPS to generate a nickel’s worth of funding for just 2.5 cents,” Murphy said. “We felt this was a fiscally responsible and sound decision for now and the future.”
Without the additional investment, FCPS would only be able to complete three projects and would have to wait until 2037 to tackle any others.
The District Facility Plan, which was developed by a committee of stakeholders and approved by the school board, lists all of the current construction and renovation needs for FCPS. The school board determines the order in which projects are completed.
Murphy said he intends to ask the board at its next meeting to direct the superintendent to establish a task force of students, families, employees, and community members to evaluate the projects on the facilities plan, recommend a priority order to the board, and oversee the use of the building funds.
“With the support of our community, the board will move swiftly to tackle the projects on our list to improve the learning environments for our students and the working environment for our employees,” Murphy said. “We are committed to transparency, open communication, and engagement with all stakeholders as we move forward.”
Contact: District spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall, (859) 699-1441
Posted Sept. 8, 2022