The potential nickel tax was addressed at the Middlesboro Independent Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Superintendent Steve Martin addressed the audience and members of the board stating his favor with the tax.
The tax would only benefit construction projects for the district, which will affect buildings built from 1964 to 1972. Martin cited a total of more than $50,327,034 of construction that is needed for the district according to the district facilities plan, but only a small portion of this will actually be completed.
Recently the state chose to award funding to districts which have substantial unmet need and currently have a nickel tax in place. Martin explained that without the nickel tax in place, the district will miss out on assistance from the state.
“If everything works together and we can get this nickel passed and we get the matching from the state, that’s going to give us about another $5.7 million. We’re going to have to do the most important things,” said Martin.
The state will match $89 to every $100 of tax dollars raised.
Martin also stated that no more funding will go into the East End School Building due to its location in a flood plane and the current state it’s in.
According to Martin, Middlesboro Middle School has the least need of all buildings, but its needs will meet American Disabilities Act compliance and benefit handicapped students most. Construction in the elementary and high school has already begun.
Martin explained the addition of new LED lighting gives energy savings bonding potential. This is currently being installed in all buildings — which will give availability for more money for future construction projects.
Audience members Chuck Owens, Ben Slusher and Terri Moore spoke in favor of the nickel tax. Citizen Charlie Allen spoke from a bankers perspective stating it “seems incredible that there is opposition” to the tax.
“When we pay taxes we’re investing — some of that investment we may not like, but that is one of the consequences of living in our country. There’s no better investment than in the education of those kids,” said Owens.
No audience members opposed to the tax signed up to speak at the meeting.
Martin urged concerned citizens to call the Middlesboro Independent School Board Office at 606-242-8800.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardmbdn.