Mason County School Board’s record on defending truthful communications

Or why will the school board not say

Our schools benefit. when new enterprises raise total assessed real estate property values”

rick.ross@mason.kyschools.us July 2, 2021 email to all local media

Read rick.ross@mason.kyschools.us email’s complete text

Mr. Ross used his official Mason County Schools email account to distribute his personal opinions. Most of the content has little to do with schools and has been refuted. However, Mr. Ross invoked the board’s reputation to support this claim: ‘The tax benefits they claim are bogus. Any increase in property value taxation created will result in LESS money coming in from the schools from the state. Chay Ritter (Kentucky Department of Education) just this week stated that the “under the SEEK formula, when property assessments increase in a county, the amount of state funding to schools decreases. That usually means districts are forced to increase the local effort (raise taxes). with shools’.

To summarise Mr. Ross claims that increased property values force the school district to raise taxes.

I support Mr. Ross’s right to as a private individual oppose solar farms. However, it is wrong when he uses official channels to claim Solar is bad because increased property value requires higher school tax rates. General support for public education depends on trust. Trust that no one uses official channels to advance personal agendas.

When someone uses official channels to put forward personal agenda, we as a society depend on the School Board to correct the error and restore credibility so we can all return to our common goal, educating Mason County’s youth.

With that expectation, I compiled research on SEEK funding of schools and attended the July 11 School Board meeting. At the 11:30 point of the meeting recording, Mr. Ross again states that when property values increase, the SEEK payments fall more than the new tax revenue increase and require increased school tax rates. To support his claim, after the meeting, he challenged me to check with Mr. Ritter of the Kentuck Department of Education, who would support his claim.

I contacted Mr. Ritter because I have learned to check with the source whenever someone supports their position by quoting an authority, who is not in the room.

Mr. Ritters confirmed that if Solar (or any new enterprise) raises the assessed real estate property value by an additional $50,430,000 then Mason County schools tax revenue will receive $278,155 which will be partially offset by a decrease of $251,569 in state SEEK funding.  Stated another way Mason County schools revenue will have a net increase of $26,586.

I attended the Aug 9, 2021, School Board Meeting. I trusted that the school board would correct the record when they understood Mr. Ross spread untrue claims, using official channels, to further his personal agenda.l

I presented this evidence to the board.

Microsoft-Word-AugBoardSpeeach.docx

Here is a recording of the Aug 9, 2021 Mason County Board of Education Meeting

Property Tax discussion starts at the 21-minute mark, Mr. Ross responds at 23:10

Realizing that his claims were proven false, Mr. Ross tried to change the subject. He attempted to confuse the $26,586 / year net revenue increase (even considering SEEK) with the $8,000,000 dollars Solar can contribute to Kentucky Schools over 30 years.

Sadly the school board made no attempt to disseminate the now confirmed truth over their official channel. Rather they just moved on to the next item on their agenda.

My question is: Do the voters of Mason County also see no problem with the superintendent spreading untrue statements via official channels for his personal agenda?

If not, how can we get the school board to correct the record and simply say? “Our schools benefit. when new enterprises raise total assessed real estate property values.