Public hearing set for school budget


Seymour residents shouldn’t see much, if any, increase next year in the amount of property taxes they pay to Seymour Community School Corp.

Business manager Steve Nauman said if the city’s assessed value doesn’t drop, then the tax rate will stay around 76 cents per $100 of taxable property in 2019.

“Assessed value will cause the tax rate to go up or down,” Nauman said. “The higher the AV, the lower the rate.”

The school corporation has no control over the assessed value, he said.

In a tax rate comparison with surrounding school corporations, Nauman said Seymour has the lowest rate in Jackson County and is lower than Scottsburg, Jennings County, Austin and Columbus.

Seymour has been able to keep its tax rate steady by adding debt when old debt is paid off, Nauman said.

In 2019, the corporation plans to spend up to $5 million to address stormwater drainage issues at the high school, finish renovating science classrooms and labs at the high school and possibly redo the track at Seymour Middle School.

That debt won’t be added until 2020, which is when existing debt from renovations at the high school will be paid off, Nauman said.

“In 2023, if we do nothing, the corporation will be debt-free,” he said.

At that time, the tax rate could drop significantly if more debt is not added.

Nauman will give a presentation on the corporation’s proposed 2019 budget along with the district’s capital projects plan and school bus replacement plan during a meeting Tuesday.

The public hearing, part of the annual budgeting process, begins at 7 p.m. at the central administration office, 1638 S. Walnut St., Seymour.

At that time, taxpayers will have the opportunity to ask questions, share concerns and learn more about the school corporation’s budget and plans.

Budget adoption will take place during the Oct. 9 meeting.

The budgeting process for 2019 has been different for schools because of statewide changes that eliminated their general fund, capital projects fund, transportation fund and bus replacement fund and instead categorizes all expenses into just two funds — education and operations.

The education fund is dedicated solely to paying for student instruction and includes expenses related to academic achievement and instructional support, such as teacher salaries and technology.

No local property tax dollars go to the education fund, as it is funded by the state based on student enrollment, Nauman said.

Seymour’s education fund budget is being advertised at $29 million.

“State funding is all student-driven. If enrollment is up, the funds we receive for the education fund go up,” Nauman said. “If enrollment goes down, it can really hurt a school corporation.”

Expenses related to the school board, superintendent and central office and other overhead now will be funded through the new operations fund. Also included in this fund are capital projects, transportation and bus replacement.

The operations fund receives both state and local tax support, Nauman said, and has an estimated 2019 budget of $11.2 million. The fund has a maximum levy of $6.2 million, which is the most the corporation can collect from local property taxes.

The state property tax cap or circuit breaker also can work against schools, reducing the amount of property taxes that can be collected, Nauman said.

Nauman said the biggest increases in next year’s budget are for utilities, salaries and benefits, which is always the case.

It’s too early to tell if any additional teachers or other staff will be needed next year, however, he said.

“Once we finalize the student count on Sept. 14, we can have a better idea of additional positions,” he said.

With the new budgeting system, around 85 percent of overall funding is spent on education and 15 percent on operations.

Trustee Nancy Franke said the split shows that Seymour is putting its money where it matters most.

“This reflects that we have been conscientious in putting as much money as we can in the classrooms,” she said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Public hearing on Seymour Community School Corp.’s proposed 2019 budget

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Central administration office, 1638 S. Walnut St., Seymour

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”By the numbers” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Seymour Community School Corp. proposed 2019 budget

Fund;Budget estimate;Maximum estimated funds to be raised;Current tax levy

Rainy day;$2,400,000;0;0

Debt service;$4,114,881;$3,728,511;$3,838,220

School pension debt;$303,031;$282,118;$279,614





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