On September 10, 2019, Central Lee community members went to the polls to approve a $12.9 million general obligation (GO) bond to improve facilities for our students. In advance of the vote, the board and district administration made clear that there would be no tax rate increase as a result of the project thanks to increasing valuation in the district.
At this point, several components of our new facilities have opened. We expect all the projects to be complete by August. Our construction process has gone remarkably well, considering we needed to navigate a complex market due to COVID-19. In fact, Central Lee was fortunate to go to bid on the project early in the shutdown in March 2020, as our bids came in below budget. We also secured a very low-interest rate, which helped reduce the property tax rate on the GO bond by 18 cents for the next fiscal year.
Our tax rate has indeed declined over the past couple years, going from $12.19 per $1,000 of assessed property value in March 2019, to $11.32 in 2020 and $11.16 this year. This decline happened even with the passage of the GO bond. Reducing our tax rate has not limited our ability to continue to grow and provide services for students. Over the past few years, Central Lee has added staff, sustained programming, and preserved a healthy overall budget. In fact, we were pleased to be in a financial position this past spring to provide a 3.56% increase to our hard-working staff.
We are proud that the Board of Education has maintained its commitment to students and taxpayers by improving facilities and lowering property tax rates these past two years. While the future is difficult to predict, we’re confident we will be able to keep our tax rate below the 2019 level for the foreseeable future.
Central Lee’s enrollment continues to grow—thanks in large part to our outstanding staff and programs. Starting next school year, our facilities will be another bright spot for our community. It’s one more reason why we’re “Proud to Be Central Lee!”
Dr. Andy Crozier
Central Lee CSD Superintendent