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Blair Oaks maintains current tax rate

Blair Oaks maintains current tax rate

August 16th, 2017 by Phillip Sitter in Local News

Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville

The Blair Oaks R-2 school board approved a tax rate Tuesday night, but it's no different than the past decade's.

The total approved tax rate of $3.66 represents a $2.75 operating levy and a $0.91 debt service levy. The total rate also has not changed since April 2007, when it was raised from $3.36 to pay for the district's then new middle school.

That isn't to say Blair Oaks hasn't grown. Enrollment data shared at the board meeting shows this school year there will be 1,205 students in the district's three buildings.

The district had 592 students in 2000, and still less than 1,000 in 2009.

This year's 1,205 is the sum of 395 kindergarteners through fourth-graders, 381 fifth- through eighth-graders and 429 high schoolers.

Superintendent Jim Jones said the desire in the community to raise the tax rate enough to pay for a new high school is there, but not the district's bonding capacity.

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In the meantime, the board approved the purchase of a John Deere four-wheel drive utility vehicle to make getting between its buildings easier for the maintenance staff.

"A lot of our work, we've got to throw a few tools in the truck and go get on the roof, or wherever, and at times, it can be a real pain. So we've been looking at getting a second vehicle," Director of Buildings and Grounds Randy Prenger said.

He said other types of vehicles like golf carts and mini-trucks had been suggested, "but I want this as utility as possible. I'd like to be able to move snow with it, possibly sweep with it, whatever comes up."

The board approved the purchase of the vehicle, at a price of no more than $9,400.

Jones said lightning had damaged the district's radio repeater system, purchased with grant money, but insurance will cover much of the cost. A repeater is a signal booster that improves the quality and range of radio communications; the district uses the system with their buses.