MURRAY –The Murray Independent School District Board of Education last week approved the tax rates for the 2020-21 school year, as well as the working budget.

The meeting was held the same day as the first day of in-person classes for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and Superintendent Coy Samons said he had heard many positive comments from parents. He said children seemed eager to get back to school and it was the only first day he can remember in his career in which he didn’t see any tears from parents or students at an elementary school. Board members also told Samons they had heard a great deal of good feedback. 

“We are very glad to have the opportunity to get back in person, and it seems our phased-in approach has been popular,” Samons said. “I received comments from parents and faculty that they would recommend that we take a look at offering this every year, as far as phasing in students on campus.”

Kindergarten through fifth grade started back with in-person classes on Thursday, and grades 6-9 are scheduled to go back today, with the final three grades following on Tuesday.

The board voted to approve Samons’ recommended tax rate of 70.9 cents per $100 of assessed value on real property, which is an increase from last year’s rate of 68.4 cents. If someone had a home worth $200,000, for example, the annual tax owed would be $1,418. The rate on motor vehicles and watercraft will be 54.4 cents, which is the same as last year.

Samons said this increase is the compensating rate, which means the district will earn no more than 4% additional revenue over the previous year. The said the increased revenue will amount to $349,622.

The board also approved a working 2020-21 budget of approximately $24,778,000. Samons said that budget does not include the COVID-19-related funding the district received through two programs funded by the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. In June, Samons told the board it had received $60,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and $351,682 from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

The board also approved its reciprocal non-resident contracts with six area school districts. Those districts include Trigg County, Marshall County, Mayfield Independent, Graves County, McCracken County and Paducah Independent.

“Non-resident or reciprocal agreements state that any resident of that county or independent school district that attends ours allows us to receive the state dollars, and if any of our students attend one of those six districts, they receive state dollars,” Samons said.

The board also approved the members of the Certified Evaluation Appeals Committee, who are elected by their colleagues. Representing certified employees will be Murray High School’s Amy McDowell and Murray Middle School’s Heidi Mallory. The alternates in case of a conflict of interest will be MMS’s Beth Stribling and Murray Elementary School’s Robin Brown. The Central Office representative will be Julie Lewis, and the alternate will be David McDowell

“That’s standard procedure so individuals will have a committee to appeal to if they feel they want to appeal either an evaluation, an adverse action or those types of things,” Samons said.

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