To support the needs of students and to keep its 2018 tax rate from dropping and later spiking, officials with Seymour Community School Corp. plan to borrow and spend another $2 million.
This time, the money will be used to add a handicapped-accessible playground area at Seymour-Redding Elementary School and renovate classrooms at Seymour High School. A portion also will go to complete classrooms in the high school’s new agriculture science facility in Freeman Field.
At a school board meeting earlier this month, trustees approved the sell of $2 million in bonds this year to fund the projects in 2018. The debt would be paid off in 2019, said corporation business manager Steve Nauman.
Because of other debt dropping off at the same time, Nauman said the school board will be in the position to do additional projects in 2020.
“If we don’t, the tax rate will drop significantly and then we will have to raise it significantly to do anything else,” he said. “It’s important to keep the rate stable.”
The corporation has completed several projects over the years, staying at the $2 million threshold. That amount, put in place by the state to keep school corporations from needing a taxpayer petition and remonstrance process on all projects, will soon increase to $5 million, Nauman said.
If there is no decrease in Seymour’s assessed value, the school corporation’s overall 2018 tax rate will go up by less than one cent from 74.88 cents to 75.48 cents per $100 of taxable property Nauman said.
“It’s about six-tenths of a penny,” he said. “A drastic drop in the AV would be the only thing to make the rate go up, but that has not been the trend.”
Seymour Community Schools has the lowest tax rate of any school corporation in the area, Nauman added.
Brownstown Central Community Schools’ rate is 14 cents higher than Seymour’s, Medora Community School Corp. is 91 cents higher and Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is 9 cents higher, he said.
Most of the 2017 bonds, $1.9 million, will be spent to renovate science and technology and family and consumer science classrooms and labs at the high school, with $400,000 going to the ag facility and $100,000 for the playground area, Superintendent Rob Hooker said.
Mika Ahlbrand, special education director, said she is excited by the opportunity to offer students with physical disabilities, such as those in wheelchairs, a playground of their own.
“The closest one that I know of is in Columbus,” she said of the type of playground that will be installed. “It’s also good for very young children because there will be a lot of ramps and it’s easier and safer for them.”
Redding was chosen because of it’s special education program that serves students with mild to severe disabilities and it has several children who use wheelchairs.
The playground will be available for the community to use after school hours, on the weekends and during the summer, Ahlbrand said.
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Seymour Community School Corp. will have a special meeting for a public hearing on its 2018 budget at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the central administration office, 1638 S. Walnut St.
The budget will be adopted during a regular school board meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 10.