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Fulton to see tax levy increase for schools

Students to see big changes in lunch line

Thanks in large part to a little more than $6 million drop in assessed valuation for the county, local residents will be seeing an increased tax rate for 2012-13.

After pointing out to board members that tax rates are adjusted annually to approximately the same revenue on the prior year’s existing property, Superintendent Jacque Cowherd explained the factors that go into setting the tax levy during Wednesday night’s school board meeting.

Those factors include statutory directives, state assessed utilities valuation provided by the state auditor and assessed valuation.

Cowherd said local real property values had “stayed relatively stable,” but that personal property valuation had “changed drastically” from $36.511 million to $29.976 million.

The preliminary total assessed valuation for the district is $158.362 million, compared to a final valuation of $164.229 million for 2011 — a $6.807 million decrease.

Those numbers resulted in a $4.3223 levy for the Fulton School District for 2012-13, compared to $4.1892 for 2011-12.

According to examples provided by Cowherd, that change will result in a tax rate of $50.38 on a $3,500 vehicle (an increase of $2); $720.31 on a $50,000 home (an increase of $22.18); and $1,440.62 on a $100,000 home (an increase of $45.62).

Noting that the county assessor’s office was experiencing some computer glitches at the time it provided the district with its numbers, Cowherd explained that the new tax rate could potentially be adjusted if the district receives a corrected assessed valuation. The district had to proceed with the current numbers because it is required by state statute to have the tax levy approved by the end of August.

In other business, Food Services Director Rhonda Fletcher gave the board an update on some of the pending — federally mandated — menu changes for student meals.

Fletcher said she spent all summer working on menus that would both appeal to students and help the district meet the new federal standards, which call for more fruits and vegetables and more balanced meals.

“The concept is great (but) some of the regulations are hard to put into motion and to follow,” Fletcher said. “We’re going to have some upset students at the middle school and high school.”

“We’re not going to have a lot of pudding, ice cream will be something we have only once a month, they won’t have a lot of the extras like Teddy Grahams, Jell-O and chip items,” Fletcher said. “Those items will be for special occasions. We’ll teach kids they need to eat more fruits and vegetables.”

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