Tax increase. It's a phrase most of us don't like hearing. And it's a phrase Owensboro Public School officials say people shouldn't worry about.
Teachers in Owensboro have not had a pay increase in several years, but that may change. The question is will taxes have to go up to do it? Whenever that happens, some want to know if administrators did their homework.
"I would like to see some proof of where the money's going to go," says Pat Moore of Owensboro. "I'd like to see what exactly are we going to do with the money before we agree to another tax hike."
But Superintendent Dr. Nick Brake says he doesn't think an increase is needed.
"Our recommendation, at this point to the board, is that they look at keeping the tax rate the same," he says.
Administrators say they looked at a 4% tax increase, but they decided the district has the money to make pay raises a reality without a tax increase.
"We had a $13 to 14 million fund balance, and we feel like now is not the time," Dr. Brake says. "This is not the year we ask for a small increase."
Brake says keeping rates same brings in an extra $50,000 in revenue. He adds he hopes a competitive salary will keep good teachers in Owensboro and attract new ones to the district.
"I think we're cognizant that we live in an economic market here in the Tri-State area," he says. "So, we compete in that market for the highest quality teachers and, certainly, the highest quality staff members in that market that we can."
A public hearing on the recommendation is scheduled for this Thursday at 5:45 PM.