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Jackson R-2 School Board votes to increase tax levy

The Jackson R-2 School Board voted to slightly increase the district’s property tax levy – raising the tax rate to $3.8032 per $100 in assessed valuation from $3.7998 last year.

Assistant Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer Matt Lacy said the $0.0034 increase would account for approximately $22,000 in additional revenue for the district. Lacy added that this was the highest increase the district was allowed to make by the state without an approved increase from voters.

Assuming taxes are fully collected, the district will raise $26,605,046 for tax year 2023, compared to $25,771,723 last year. Lacy said that district’s increase in revenue this year, totaling $756,626, is significantly smaller than last year’s increase of $2,839,152 in new revenue.

“We are still bringing in additional revenue – it’s just not nearly as much to keep pace,” Lacy said, adding that the tax revenue is not keeping up with the average inflation growth of more than 6%.

The district is receiving an increase of around 2% in new revenue from reassessments this year, despite property owners paying an 8.5% increase related to reassessments.

Lacy said that discrepancy was due to decreases in the assessed valuation of commercial and personal property, which are both taxed at a higher rate than residential real estate.

“Personal property tax ballooned last year,” Lacy said. “We are starting to see that cool, which isn’t a total surprise given that interest rates are starting to go up.”

Lacy said the loss of commercial property taxes is mostly due to a reassessment of Capital Sand’s real estate property. “They asked to have their real property reassessed and reconsidered,” Lacy said. “The state did that and in the end, they decided to roll back their assessed valuation by half.”

Capital Sand paid $968,000 in taxes to the school district in 2021. “To have your biggest taxpayer be appealed and reduced by half is really hard,” Lacy said.

“This is not something you see on a regular basis,” Superintendent Scott Smith said of the Capital Sand reevaluation. “The tax entity hurt the most is us.”

The tax increase was approved by a 6-1 vote, with board member Kristen Lewis opposing the tax increase. Lewis recommended keeping the tax rate the same as last year, since the increase would only increase revenue for the district by $22,000.

“I would rather the voters increase their taxes than a board,” Lewis said, adding that voters recently voted down two tax-increase propositions from the district.

Board members Brandon Pylate and Christine Warren asked about the impact of the increase on the district and taxpayers.

Smith said the increase equaled the salary for a part-time staff member. “For us, that’s a custodian, it’s a paraprofessional or another non-certified position,” he said.

Warren added that not increasing the tax rate might send the message that the district doesn’t need the additional funding.

$3.2432 of the new tax rate will go towards the district’s general incidental fund, while $0.36 will go to the district’s debt services fund and $0.20 will go towards capital projects.

The district did not place any tax revenue in its capital projects fund last year due to concerns the district would need that funding to cover additional legal settlements in a lawsuit related to the construction of the Jackson High School Event Center.

The district is estimated to raise $22,687,601 in general revenue, $2,518,377 to cover debt services and $1,399,087 for capital projects.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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