BCS property tax rate decreases, board takes actions related to COVID-19

The Boyle County Schools board of education unanimously approved property tax rates for the 2021-2022 fiscal year on Thursday, lowering the rate from the previous year’s compensating rate of 70 cents per $100 to this fiscal year’s compensating rate of 66 cents per $100.

“That’s a powerful win for our community, having their taxes reduced 4 cents every $100 of property,” Superintendent Mike LaFavers said.

Finance Director Nick Clark added, “And we’re still getting the same amount of revenue, basically, as we got last year, excluding new property.”

Under the general fund real estate, revenue is projected at approximately $7.3 million at the compensating rate of 66 cents per $100, and under general fund personal property it’s projected at approximately $1 million at the compensating rate.

Under its action items, the board also unanimously approved four items pertaining to the 2021-2022 school year related to COVID-19:

• Creating one additional full-time district school health nurse position for the school year, funded through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds, not the general fund. LaFavers said the district needs District Health Coordinator Nichole Brown for contact tracing, which can sometimes leave some buildings without a full-time nurse.

The new nurse position would allow a full-time nurse at all buildings and allow Brown to oversee the nurses, move around the district for contact tracing purposes and also try to jump start a clinical program that will aim for the district to have the ability to offer testing for illnesses like strep throat.

“This is to get us through another complicated school year, but it’s not a long-term plan,” LaFavers said. “But we can certainly pivot when the time’s right to a long-term plan for nursing.”

• Creating an additional “certified teacher: homebound and virtual learning position” for the school year. This is also through ESSER. LaFavers said it’s too soon to tell if the district will need this position, but as the school year progresses and the district monitors its COVID-19 cases and quarantines, the need may arise.

• Also funded through ESSER, the board approved considering hiring additional substitute staff due to COVID-19 quarantine or isolation for the year. If a teacher is quarantined, this allows them to be live streamed into the classroom while a substitute teacher makes sure the students are safe and teaches as well. This allows students to keep their teachers remotely while having substitute teachers in person.

• Approved a resolution relating to quarantine leave for the school year. The Kentucky Department of Education in August both required masks in schools regardless of vaccination status and also passed an emergency regulation allowing schools to offer quarantine leave to employees, which the district resolved to offer Thursday. If an employee has COVID-19 they will be granted paid leave, but if they are quarantined and still able to work from home, they will be able to telework at supervisors’ discretion with written documentation. This also applies if the employee’s child is quarantined due to COVID-19 — they will be able to telework while staying home with their child.

In other business:

• The board unanimously approved hiring Clotfelter Samokar Architects for the Softball Field Design Project. LaFavers said the district has not yet chosen a location for the field. Architects will look at the district’s properties and potential growth, bring their ideas regarding location to the board and work on establishing a planned location from there in the future.