Platte will seek
cent tax levy increase
With the presidential primary election out of
the way, Missouri now turns to its April elections,
elections that promise to have an even more profound
effect on citizens than in recent years.
Platte County will be no different aside
from the usual gamut of local political races
and candidates to choose from, registered voters
will see major school funding issues on this year's
ballot as well.
Platte County R-3 will be presenting voters with
a $24 million bond issue and the North Platte
School District has just announced its plans to
present voters with a proposed increase in its
operating levy to $4.25 per $100 of assessed valuation,
up from $3.78. West Platte voters approved a 72-cent
levy increase in last November's election.
Platte County R-3's bond issue is earmarked for
the construction of a new middle school and a
renovation project for the existing space at the
North Platte School Superintendent Dr. Francis
Moran explained that his district's latest requested
increase was borne out of the state's tough fiscal
"It's to offset the loss of state revenue,"
said Moran. "We're not sure if it will offset
all the revenue we've lost because (the legislature)
has not yet agreed what the expenditures are going
Moran said the increase would net the district
nearly $190,000 and was to be earmarked for general
"We can't count on the money being there
(from the state)," Moran said. "We have
to plan for the worst."
The 47-cent proposed increase comes just over
two years after the district's previous levy adjustment.
That adjustment resulted in the purchase and installation
of 41 air conditioning units for an estimated
cost of $164,000. That increase was rolled back
last year to the present levy of $3.78.
The North Platte school district is not alone.
According to a poll conducted by the Missouri
Association of School Administrators, 90 out of
271 responding Missouri school districts were
considering levy increases in 2004.
The Belton, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Grandview,
Hickman Mills and Lee's Summit school districts
are five other Kansas City area school districts
who are in the planning stages for a new ballot
issue as well. In addition to West Platte, the
Blue Springs, Independence, and Raymore-Peculiar
district voters have already approved increases.
North Kansas City voters rejected a proposed increase
for their schools last April.
Problems at the state level affect local districts
Missouri's budget issues have begun to attract
national attention for their veracity and partisan
The controversy largely began when Democratic
Governor Bob Holden withheld nearly $200 million
in educational funds from the state budget on
the first day of session, citing the need for
a balanced budget.
Republican legislators, who hold the majority
in the state legislature, assert that Holden is
not using the correct budget forecasts. Since
then, Holden has vetoed 6 budget bills, 2 of which
were appropriation bills for school funding, the
first Missouri governor to ever do so.
Many area school districts sued the state government
after those vetoes, challenging the governor's
authority to reduce appropriations approved by
the state legislature. Those suits were found
to be without merit. 243 school districts have
since joined up to sue the government, claiming
that the state does not adequately fund public
schools or distribute funds equitably.