The Chadron School Board last night approved its budget and property tax request, but not before cutting the property tax rate by 2-cents per hundred, trimming the dollar amount by about $124,000.
The board members spent most of an hour discussing the comments heard from landowners during the Chadron and Crawford schools budget hearing earlier in the evening and how – and how much – they could ease the tax burden on the property owners.
The board tried to find a way to help the landowners without harming the education of since lowering the property tax rate would reduce state aid by an amount that wouldn’t be known until next spring.
Rancher Travis Nitsch, whose wife Maddie is on the school board, urged the members to cut the tax rate, telling them “someone has to say no.”
A motion to approve the proposed tax rate of $1.05 per hundred, the maximum for schools, failed on a 3-3 vote while cutting the rate by a penny to $1.04 lost 4-2.
A 2-cent reduction to $1.03 finally passed with Tom Menke and Melissa Webster reluctantly voting no because of the uncertainty of how much state aid might be cut.
Superintendent Ginger Meyer told the board she thought they might decide to reduce the tax request, so she had prepared alternate budgets – including one for a 2-cent cut that the board then approved. Menke, the board president, said afterward all 6 members were on the same page even when taking different positions on the votes.
Travis Nitsch enthusiastically praised the board for its actions, saying it was “bigger than no one can imagine as it sets a precedent for other school boards while sending a positive message to taxpayers.
Menke hopes Nitsch is right and that area residents join the fight to change the state aid funding formula and increase the amount of state money going to schools.
The Sioux County School Board almost met last night to approve its budget and tax request after having a budget hearing last week similar to the Chadron-Crawford session.