Bolivar School District asking voters to approve a tax levy increase in April

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 9:44 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Voters in Bolivar will have to consider paying more in taxes.

A proposed increase for the Bolivar School District’s operating levy will be on the ballot in April.

“We’ve got to take better care of our teachers,” said Paula Hubbert.

Hubbert serves not only on Bolivar’s School Board but also represents the region on the state level.

“Missouri has the lowest, the lowest statutory salary for any teacher in the United States,” she said.

The former educator says that low pay is part of what’s driving teachers and paraprofessionals to other careers.

“It really is incumbent on our legislators to put their money where their mouth is and tell us if they want to invest in the future of this state,” she said.

Dr. Richard Asbill, district superintendent, says, “Governor Parson was very proactive in having the $38,000 base grant. Bolivar doesn’t qualify for that.”

He says the district’s base pay for teachers and staff surpasses the state limit for higher pay. He says school officials have to find another way to fund salary increases.

“We spent a lot of time at what it takes to competitively keep up with either where we are now or other districts of our size,” explained Asbill.

The district will ask voters to approve a 25-cent increase to the current operating tax levy. If your property is worth $100,000, you will pay an extra $3.96 monthly. Asbill says that extra money will go directly to teacher and staff paychecks.

“The board will always annually be able to go back and say, do we need all of that 25 cents? They can do that every year and make sure they’re being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars,” he explained.

“We need to reward them for the professionals they are and for all of the demands that we put on them,” said Hubbert.

The district says its goal is to raise the base pay for teachers to $40,000 by 2025.

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