Danville school district has higher taxes, lower performance

Published 7:18 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

Danville Schools recently landed among the top 10 schools in Kentucky with the highest tax rates, at 98.5 cents. Most schools sharing this prestigious honor, or not so much, are located near the Cincinnati area. Significantly, economic resources available to residents in that area are more abundant than in Boyle County.

Having raised the rate the past eight years, with the exception of last year, the board chose the maximum increase allowed by law without triggering a potential voter recall. Forgoing a “small” increase last year, only to hit us with a double whammy this year, is no favor.

Disturbing is, the astronomical rate doesn’t equate to suitable academic performance. The district has struggled with low test scores and wide achievement gaps for years, as reflected by the KDE’s school report cards. The recent, less than stellar, overall, 2-Star rating, is further confirmation that students are not receiving the highest quality education. Perplexing as the district, arguably, employs the best teachers around. However, they can only be as effective as their leadership.

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Blaming the state for lack of funding is easy. Maybe the problem is irresponsible spending. 

Instead of acquiring a new property for nearly $1 million, they should have made Jennie Rogers work, as they would have if the property had not become available. Is an assistant superintendent, for the first time in school history, necessary? Is the need for funds the result of a long overdue reduction to a bloated administration? $1 million would have been better spent providing students and teachers with resources needed in the classroom or retaining the outstanding educators who keep leaving, rather than a new central office.

Meanwhile, our “4-Star” friends across town haven’t raised taxes in five years, lowered the rate this year, and are building a brand new school. Begs the question, why wouldn’t a person want their child to attend a better performing school at a lower cost?

Board members were elected to represent all taxpayers. The burden of replacing funds spent on a “good deal” shouldn’t come at the expense of taxpayers such as elderly residents, struggling to pay for basic necessities, or families on fixed incomes, who don’t have an extra dollar to spend on taxes. If the board continues raising taxes just “to keep the lights on,” perhaps a serious conversation should be had regarding turning them off and consolidating schools.

LaKeysha Singleton