Fulton's Board of Education will vote to set operating tax rate

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FULTON - In a unanimous vote, the Fulton Board of Education set the operating tax rate to $4.0083 for this year. 

That rate is higher than what voters approved in early August. The ballot asked for an operating tax levy ceiling of $3.8948.

FPS Superintendent Jacque Cowherd proposed the higher tax rate to the board.

"Operating levy taxes are always adjusted pursuant to the state auditor's rules," Cowherd said.

Last year, the average property owner paid about $775 in property taxes to Fulton Public Schools. The average property owner will pay about $900 this year. 

Cowherd said the additional money was needed because an audit shows property value went down $1.6 million. 

"When the assessed valuation decreases, the state auditor calculates a new tax rate ceiling and raises that tax rate ceiling," he said. 

Cowherd said the new operating tax rate would raise $8.61 million for public schools. He said the school district will use that money mainly to pay for two expenses. 

"What we told the public in the levy vote was salaries and mental health support," Cowherd said. 

Ernest Overstreet, 80, owns a house in Fulton. Three of his eight grandchildren go to public schools in town. 

"People generally don't like to see taxes raised," he said. 

However, Overstreet said he supported increasing property taxes to bring more funds to schools.

"It happens, same as your wages go up," he said. 

He also said FPS is wisely using the money it gets from tax payers.