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West County keeps tax rate steady, but changes distribution to boost state funding

The West County School Board on Thursday approved the same tax rate the district has had during the past six years, but made one change that should bring in additional state funds.

District residents will continue to pay $4.05 per $100 assessed valuation, based on county assignments of property value. However, this year, $3.30 of that rate will go to the operating fund and $.75 will go to debt service to pay off bonds.

Last year, $3.12 went to operating funds and $.93 went to debt service.

By making the change for this year, the district expects to bring in an additional $850,000 over the next seven years. It will take seven years to phase in the new funding formula that legislators approved this year. State monies during that phase-in process will be determined from 2004-2005 school year figures.

“This year will be the base year for the phase-in of our new state funding formula,” Superintendent Stacy Stevens said. “It’s imperative that we maximize our state money this year.”

The district will be able to fund bond payments this year with the lower ratio, but will most likely have to revert back to 2004-2005 percentages next year, he added.

Taxpayers will not see a change in taxes unless St. Francois County changed the value of their property.

“Because this is a reassessment year, some property assessment values might have gone up,” Stevens explained. “Even though our tax rate stayed the same, the amount of their taxes will go up. If the assessment value stayed the same, there will be no change in their school district taxes.”

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