A third meeting of the Rusk County Wide School Board is set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the county court room with the intent of discussing and possibly approving a tax rate for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. 

On the agenda are:

• Discussing and possibly approving the previous board meetings from meetings of Aug. 6 and Aug. 21.

• Discuss for approval the adoption of an effective rate of $.026544 per $100 of assessed property value.

• Discuss for approval adopting of Order to set the 2019 Equalization Tax rate.

• Elect a chairperson and a chairperson pro-tem.

• Public comment

Board member John Carter has been questioning the past practices of the board in an attempt to bring some accountability to the process.

Carter’s charge is that the some schools receiving a portion of the tax revenues are not accounting back to the board about who the money is spent on. 

The original language of the 1937 legislation creating the taxing district only says the monies are to be spent on “equalizing school facilities and opportunities in this county.”

At the heart of Carter’s complaint is that the board has not been operating in the spirit of the 1937 legislation setting up the taxing district.

In recent years, two-plus penny property tax was raising some $900,000-plus in revenue and then dispersed to the dozen or so school districts in Rusk County. 

In the most recent meeting, the board approved the proposed effective tax rate at $.026544 per $100 of property valuation.

The 2019 rate is slightly higher than the 2018 number of $.026437, which is a difference of $.000107 cents. The difference in the calculation is to bring in approximately the same revenue as the past year. 

There are 12 entire or parts of school districts operating in Rusk County.

They are Carlisle, Cushing, Garrison, Henderson, Kilgore, Laneville, Leverett’s Chapel, Mount Enterprise, Overton, Rusk, Tatum and West Rusk. 

The effective tax rate of $.026437 per $100 evaluation generated $989,092.00 in 2018. 

Back in 1937, most, if not all, of the school districts were wholly inside the confines of Rusk County.

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