Archive for Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tax enables hundreds of adults to earn high school diploma

May 7, 2013



The Lawrence school board voted recently to renew its authority to levy a tax that funds adult basic education programs. But district officials say that does not mean property taxes are going to increase.

The vote, which occurred April 8 as part of the school board's consent agenda, reauthorizes an existing tax that funds adult basic education services offered at the district's Centennial Adult Education Center, 2145 Louisiana St.

Sharen Steele, who directs the center, said an estimated 543 adult students are enrolled there this year. That includes 223 enrolled in the Adult Basic Education program where students study for their GED exam. Another 320 students are enrolled in the center's diploma completion program where they work on completing their high school diplomas through Lawrence High School or Free State High School.

"I just know with the numbers that we serve, there is a definite need in our community, and I think it's a real positive thing that we're doing for the adults," Steele said.

Under Kansas law, school districts are authorized to levy up to one-half of a mill in property taxes - or $5.75 in tax on a $100,000 house - to fund adult education programs. That tax enables them to draw down additional state and federal aid for those programs.

The tax must be approved by a resolution for five years at a time. The last time the Lawrence school board authorized the tax was in 2008, which meant it was due for renewal this year.

The resolution gives the district authority to levy up to half a mill, but in recent years the Lawrence district has not used its full authority.

For the current year, the district levies only 0.4 mills for adult education, or $4.60 in tax on a $100,000 house. That is expected to generate about $360,000 in revenue for the programs, or about 70 percent of the total revenue for the program.

In addition, the district receives $52,483 in state aid; $80,807 in federal funds; and another $24,036 from Douglas County.

Steele is retiring at the end of this academic year. She will be succeeded by Rick Henry, currently the career and technical education specialist at the district office.


tolawdjk 5 years ago

Taxed once to pay for public education.

Taxed again because someone failed to take the responisbility to obtain a HS education seriously the first time.

bevy 5 years ago

You assume that the only reason folks don't finish high school is because they didn't take it seriously. Many kids end up dropping out to help earn money for their families. Others drop out to take responsibility for children they were not planning for, or due to illness or many other reasons. Those are the same kinds of folks who are likely to benefit from this program. If we can afford to use billions in tax dollars to give subsidies to oil companies already making multi-billion-dollar annual profits, can't we spare a few bucks to help educate those who have the desire to be more successful? I'd wager that every penny spent on this program increases the chances that those same people will eventually support themselves, and not be on the welfare that your tax dollars also funds.

workinghard 5 years ago

Thanks Peter for clearing that up for us so quickly. Glad to know it is less than $6 a year for a $100,000 house.

Sunny Parker 5 years ago

tax tax tax tax tax! When is enough enough!

lawslady 5 years ago

When is it enough? Only when those being taxed are willing to not only vote in greater numbers but also run for public offices (large and small). But before assuming that all taxation and use of tax dollars is bad, consider how many governmental services you or your loved ones use (even without being keenly aware). 1. Do you drive on public roads? 2. Did you or your children or your grandchildren attend a public school? 3. Do want to take into your home the mentally ill, the disabled, the children born to unfit parents, the elderly, and others who can't care of themselves through no fault of their own? 4. Can you put out any fire at your house or your neighbors? 5. Can you prevent or investigate/punish any crime committed against you or your property? 6. Do you want to raise, feed, clothe, house and arm your own troops to protect your home, neighborhood, city, state, and country? 7. Do you want to rely upon the good intentions of industry or business owners when you buy food or other products that could otherwise be unsafe or even deadly? 8. Do you want to assume quality and take the risk, or do your own research to determine if a person whose services you need/want is qualified to provide it (like doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, EMT's, insurance agents/brokers, counselors, etc.)? 9. Do you want to race a loved one to a hospital in your own vehicle, hoping you make it before they die? ETC.

Everyone complains about too much taxes, including me. But yet, we want to continue receiving the services our government provides to us (like some of the above). And if push came to shove, I doubt many would want to give up such services. While I believe in efficiency, I also realize that just as my own costs of living have increased, so too will the costs to provide such services rise.

Those who wish to punish someone else by taking away government programs from which they benefit should take a step back and see that rarely is such a move in their OWN self - interest. We all benefit from most services, in some way.

workinghard 5 years ago

Nobody would probably argue with the services you mention. Nobody can argue that there is also money squandered on things we don't need.

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