Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Nickel Tax Explained

The following is the email shared with OPS staff members explaining the nickel tax.

OPS Family,

You probably noticed the article in the paper about our board of education considering a tax levy in February.  Since you may get questions about this and it is super complicated, I thought I would give you a short, simple version of what we are trying to accomplish for our district.

Since 2005 our district has been levying two nickels as part of our tax rate to fund facility upgrades and improvements. The Kentucky school funding model provides the opportunity for the state to match each nickel with state funding.   Because the district missed a procedural deadline back in 2005, we have only been eligible to receive state matching funds for one of the two nickels.  This means we have been losing about $1 million in state funding. 

Over the past few years we have worked in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Education and our local legislators, especially Senator Bowen, to devise a plan that will make the district eligible for increased state funding.  If this measure passes, it will capture additional state revenue for the district without increasing local taxes.

The following are the key highlights of the plan:

Ø  Most important thing to know!!

o    If this effort is successful, the district will be eligible for an increase of about $1 million revenue from the state while keeping our local tax rate the same.

o    If unsuccessful, the district will lose $1 million in state revenue and will be forced to increase local property taxes.

Ø  What is a nickel tax and how is it used?

o    A nickel tax is a percentage of the current school district tax that is used to generate funds for construction and renovation of facilities.  It also impacts the district bonding capacity.  If successful, it would increase OPS bonding capacity by over $12 million.

o    If passed, OPS will be eligible for the state to authorize matching funds on every dollar OPS collects from taxes.

o    This translates to an additional $1 million in state funding!

Ø  How the plan will work?

o    On February 23 the Board of Education will consider a nickel increase, setting the tax rate from 85.8 to 91.6

o    Between April and August, the state will recognize this and make OPS eligible for additional revenue from the state.

o    The Owensboro Board of Education commits to rolling the rate back to 85.8 cents in August before the new nickel takes effect in October.   This means no increase in local taxes.

o    If the effort is not successful, the Board will be legally required to take a 4% increase in local property taxes thus raising local taxes for everyone. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  It is in everyone’s interest that we work together to make sure that our community understands the key opportunity we have to increase our state revenue without raising local taxes. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

January 2017 Board Meeting Highlights


The Board of Education recognized Mary Meyer for her significant commitment to improve and support educational services in the Owensboro Public Schools by awarding her with the Tom Maddox Outstanding Achievement Award.  Mary has worked in our district for 21 years.  Having previously served as School Secretary at Sutton Elementary, she now serves as the central office receptionist. Her bright smile and positive attitude are something to be modeled after in the Owensboro Public Schools.  She exemplifies the spirit of the Tom Maddox award and has contributed greatly to our district.

The Board of Education recognized the Outstanding Achievement in School Information Services award recipients as follows:
 • Fine Arts Coordinator Tom Stites scored Proficient in the Special Events Category for the 2016 Fine Arts Festival program.
• Nathan Seaton and Dave Kirk scored Distinguished in the new category called Innovations in Communications for their work on implementing Tie Txt, the district’s mobile communication text messaging system.
• Dave Kirk also scored Distinguished in the field of press releases and took home the highest score in the state for the release, “No More Sitting Quietly At Your Desks at OPS”, a piece focused on pedal desks in the classroom.
• Dave Kirk also scored Distinguished and had the highest score in the state in feature photography for an entry called “Idea” and for a video selection called “A Surprise for Mrs. Baber.”

Congratulations to our 2017 Kentucky All-State Choir, Orchestra and Band students. These students are selected through a rigorous audition process that requires months of preparation and years of training to succeed. They compete first in our local district and then in a state-wide process that allows them to compete with students from across Kentucky for this honor. A small percentage of the 1000's of students who begin the audition actually attain this honor with many of them identified for college music scholarship offers as a result. Our large number of KMEA All-State members this year rivals or surpasses that of many 5-A schools in our state and is the result of our outstanding students’ individual effort and the support by our dedicated teachers.  Each student will be rehearsing for three days and performing as part of the 2017 KMEA Conference in Louisville, KY February 8-11. 2017

All State Chorus – Junior High Division:  Kaitlyn Cooper, Ja Seng Pauhkum, Randi Smith, Olivia Swenson, Nolia Williams, John Brink, Morgan Garrity, Jessie Hibbs, Eli Ochoa-Kennedy

All State Chorus – High School Division: Austin Adams, Mitchell Douglas, Chancelor Horne, Katie Kellems, Adalei Miller, Thomas Smith, Caleb Wiggins

All State Orchestra: Ben Sexton, Caleb Wiggins

All State Band:  Andrew Gilliam, Nathan Munster


The Board of Education elected Mr. Dan Griffith as Board Chair and Mr. Jeremy Edge as Vice Chair. Additionally, they appointed Dr. Nick Brake as Board Secretary, Mrs. Paula Roberts as Board Treasurer, and Mr. William Wilson as Board Attorney.


Welcome to OPS! 
Hannah Stephen, Health Science Instructor, OHS
Hunter Hinton, Intervention Assistant, Cravens Elementary
Steven Latzo, Intervention Assistant, OMS – North
Paul Payne III, Computer Lab Tech, Foust Elementary
Betty Sweeney, Bus Driver, Transportation
David Vanover, Custodian, Hager Preschool

Congratulations on your new position! 
Randy Bryant, now Administrative Intern, OMS-North & South
Barbara Evans, now LBD Teacher, Newton Parrish/Sutton
Amanda Sosh, LBD Teacher, Foust

OPS appreciates and welcomes our substitutes! 
Jennifer Brumley, Substitute Teacher
Joanne Gary, Substitute Teacher
Ashley Prewitt, Substitute Teacher
Char Rhoads, Substitute Teacher & Secretary
Ashley Roberts, Substitute Teacher
Sarah Tennant, Substitute Teacher
Joanne Gary, Substitute Cook/Baker, Instr. Assistant & Secretary

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Kids in Schools with Me

Social studies teacher at Owensboro High School, Beth Ewing, sent the following Langston Hughes poem to me.   She discovered while studying the 1920s for her U.S. history class.

The lessons from the arts, culture, and history from nearly a century ago ring true today, especially as it relates to the topic of immigration and the importance of public education.

The ideas presented are a primary goal of our school district.  Regardless of political obstacles that confront us, it will continue to be our focus until it is fully realised.

"The Kids in School with Me"

When I studied my A-B-C's
And learned arithmetic,
I also learned in public school
What makes America tick:
The kid in front
And the kid behind
And the kid across the aisle,
The Italian kid
And the Polish kid
And the girl with the Irish smile,
The colored kid
And the Spanish kid
And the Russian kid my size,
The Jewish kid
And the Grecian kid
And the girl with the Chinese eyes--
We were a regular Noah's ark,
Every race beneath the sun,
But our motto for graduation was:
One for All and All for One!
The kid in front
And the kid behind
And the kid across from me--
Just American kids together

The kids in school with me.

-Langston Hughes