To the editor:
In Kansas, school boards can veto TIFs because school district funds are on the line. By not vetoing the Oread Inn TIF, USD 497 school board is increasing a developer's profit by over $90,000 per year at the students' and teachers' expense.
TIFs are not an all-or-nothing proposition. TIFs can be designed to rebate only the city's portion of the property and sales tax and allow the schools to keep their tax revenue. In April, the school board is asking us to vote for a property tax increase to pay for teacher salaries, yet is willing to give up over $90,000 annually in property taxes from this project. There are more TIFs in planning stages for Lawrence and now is the time for the school board to establish a precedent.
The school board should veto this TIF and ask the City Commission to create a TIF that allows the school district to keep its property tax revenue. Other cities, such as St. Louis, have TIFs that hold schools harmless. Are we really less interested in funding our children's education than folks from Missouri?