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School Districts Eye Tax Hikes, In Wake of Casino Breaks

Michael Calhoun
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CLAYTON (KMOX) – River City Casino is the Hancock School District’s biggest taxpayer.

And because of a drastic drop in the casino’s property tax assessment, the south St. Louis County district now expects a $641,000 hole in its budget.

Superintendent Kevin Carl estimates that to be the equivalent of about 9 teachers, but he says he’d prefer to cut transportation, activities or programs before laying off teachers or raising taxes.

“This affects us right now, in the middle of the school year,” Carl says. “To make dramatic cuts when we’ve already started classes, students are used to their teachers and we already have programs in place, is just not a feasible option.”

Accordingly, he expects the school board to approve an increase in the district’s property tax rate.

The average homeowner, whose house has an assessed valuation of $50 to 60,000, would have to pay an additional $100 to $130 on their property tax bills this year.

Carl expects to hear an earful from taxpayers at next Tuesday’s school board meeting, and he sympathizes.

“If I went into the Board of Equalization as a taxpayer and asked them to cut my residential property value in half, I don’t think they’d give it much consideration,” he says.

Copyright KMOX Radio

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