Superintendent Lori VanLeer

The Washington School Board will set its 2013-14 property tax rate following a public hearing Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Public comments will be accepted during the hearing.

The hearing will be held during the board’s regular monthly meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Locust Street administration building.

The school board met earlier this month in a work session to discuss various options on transferring pennies from the capital projects fund to the operations fund, and the implications if that action is taken.

At that time, school officials were planning for a 6 percent, or about $33 million, drop in assessed valuation in Franklin County — which equates to a loss of about $1.2 million to the district. Since that meeting, the news has only gotten worse, officials said.

The district is now facing a drop of about $46 million in assessed valuation in the county — which equates to a loss of $1.8 million.

After their initial work session, the board was proposing to set the levy at $3.9367 per $100 assessed valuation, which is 11 cents higher than the current levy of $3.8260. This is the same information posted in a legal notice in The Missourian.

However, with the even greater drop in assessed value, the board is now proposing to set the levy at $4.0205 per $100 assessed value — 19 cents higher than last year.

The board will not transfer any additional pennies from the capital projects fund to the operations fund due to the uncertainty with state funding and so the district can implement a pilot technology program at the high school.

The proposed breakdown for the 2013-14 rate is as follows:

Incidental Fund — $3.2988.

Debt Service Fund — $0.3317.

Capital Projects Fund — $0.3900.

The tax rates are set to produce the revenues which the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2013, shows to be required from property tax.

Each tax rate is determined by dividing the amount of revenue needed by the current assessed valuation. The result is multiplied by 100 so the tax rate will be expressed in cents per $100 valuation.

School districts are required to set their levy on or before Sept. 1 following the state auditor’s approval of the Board of Equalization valuations received by the district in August of each year.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said school officials plan to meet with county Assessor Tom Copeland Thursday to seek additional information on the significant drop in assessed valuation and to review data.

“Our revenue situation is worsening and the setting of the levy is about remaining neutral,” VanLeer told board members in email this week. “We will need to make some budgetary changes and we need to shrink our footprint. There will be more work to come on this.”

The superintendent said the funding losses are unfortunate because of the many goals the district has set.

The district also could lose upward of $800,000-plus in state funding if House Bill 253 is passed over the governor’s veto in September.