CHARLESTON -- It's yet to be seen if higher property values and other factors will mean an increase in tax revenue for the Charleston school district, district officials say.

The district's annual property tax levy is based on increased values and the highest rate of inflation since 2011. The Charleston school board is scheduled to vote on adopting the levy during its meeting Wednesday.

Assistant Superintendent Chad Burgett said he adjusted the expected values for new construction in the district since he presented information on the levy to the board last month.

After initially setting the figure at $2 million, Burgett said it now appears that property values in the district increased because of new construction by $3.2 million.

Property value increases from new construction don't fall under the restrictions of Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, often called PTELL, for the first year after they're in place.

With PTELL in place, the increase in tax revenue is otherwise limited to the Consumer Price Index or 5 percent, whichever is less. The CPI that will be used for the levy will be 2.1 percent, up from 0.7 percent last year.

Burgett said his actual recommendation to the board will be to adopt a levy that would bring a 4.99 percent increase in tax revenue. That isn't likely but would increase tax revenue from about $12.9 million to about $13.5 million, he said.

The higher levy amount will help the district get all the tax revenue to which it's entitled, Burgett said. The levy is basically a request to the county for property tax revenue; the revenue can be lower than the requested amount but not higher.

The actual tax revenue for the district will also be based on other factors and won't be known until closer to when property tax bills are prepared next year, he also said.

The levy will increase revenue for transportation expenses offset by a decrease for the education fund, Burgett also said. He said that's to try to avoid the budget inter-fund loans the district's been using to deal with state delays in transportation reimbursements.

Meanwhile, other items scheduled for votes during Wednesday's meeting include two memorial projects for Charleston High School.

One proposal would name the school's media center for Nell Wiseman, the longtime CHS teacher who died Oct. 10.

The other would place a bench and tree at the northeast corner of the school grounds in honor of Jordan Holly, a CHS student who died in an automobile accident on May 23.

Superintendent Todd Vilardo said he's recommending that the board adopt the district Memorial Committee's request to approve both proposals.

Also, the district's school principals are scheduled to make a presentation on state test results and their schools' plans for how to use that data.



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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