No new taxes could hurt Gloucester schools
An effort by county supervisors to avoid additional taxes in the coming year could have a negative impact on Gloucester County Schools, division superintendent Ben Kiser told the county school board last Thursday.
By consensus last month, the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors encouraged its staff to avoid new taxes or additional borrowing as it develops its fiscal year 2015 budget.
The new $26 million Page Middle School, approved by county supervisors and now under construction, is partially funded by $17 million borrowed through the Virginia Public Service Authority and requires a $1.2 million payment in FY 2015. The $17 million includes $12 million for the new school and $5 million for other school capital projects.
Kiser said the previous county board approved the projects with the knowledge that the $1.2 million payment would be the equivalent of a three-cent increase in the current real property tax rate of 66 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Kiser said the desire of the current county board, which has three new members, to avoid a tax increase could mean no new revenue for schools. It could also mean a reduction in operating budgets to cover the $1.2 million, and possibly a reduction in personnel and no funding for capital improvements.
“What that means is we’re at a $1.2 million deficit before we start,” Kiser said. “It does have a significant impact on what we’ll be able to do.”