Two years ago, I supported the Jefferson County School Board when it raised property taxes to help offset budget shortfalls. I believed then that public education is important enough to deserve reasonable taxpayer support and I still believe that.
But I'm troubled by the board's most recent increase in the property tax rate because it could be the last straw in eroding public trust in the school system.
According to law, property tax rates may be unilaterally raised every year by the board as long as the increases don't exceed 4%. Note I said "may."
But with the school board raising these rates for six consecutive years now, I can't blame anyone for assuming that "may" has given way to "will." And that, instead of looking for real ways to economize, the board members have simply started viewing property owners as a bottomless well of cash that can always be counted on to help balance the bottom line.
I believe the people still want to support our schools. But they want to see that support produce results. And I can't blame them if they think the school system maybe isn't working as hard as it could to meet them halfway in getting all they can from every dollar.
This latest move will definitely gain the school board an extra 1.4% this year. But it may cost them far more than that in future credibility.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.