Metro Ideas Project announced its calculator to help Hamilton County residents estimate their property taxes under the proposed FY2020 School Board budget while accounting for unfunded items left out of the proposal. View the project here.
The budget calculator helps residents understand the personal impact of the proposed $34 million increase requested by the Hamilton County School Board while also highlighting key items that were not included in this year’s budget. Residents are encouraged to create and share their own school board budget on social media.
“This calculator is designed to help bring some factual grounding to the critical discussion our community is having right now,” said Joda Thongnopnua, executive director of the Metro Ideas Project. “And it’s an opportunity for residents, parents, and teachers to imagine the budget if they were in the driver’s seat.”
Some of the key line items that were not included in the school budget include nearly $20 million for deferred school facilities maintenance and nearly $3.2 million to provide students with at least five post-secondary credits by graduation. However, the budget does include provisions to add a five percent raise for teachers and adds new counselors to reduce counselor-to-student ratio from nearly 1:700 to just under 1:500 in elementary schools.
“What often gets lost amidst the big numbers of a tax increase is how these kinds of public policy decisions impact individuals, that’s what we wanted to explore with this calculator,” said Mr. Thongnopnua. “This upcoming vote affects over 44,000 students relying on adults to make good decisions about their futures, we owe it to them to provide the facts.”
The school budget calculator is a return to public-facing projects for Metro Ideas Project after a hiatus. Over the coming weeks and months, the organization will release several projects and initiatives that will highlight an agenda for a more prosperous, effective, and thriving community in addition to resources to help residents better understand the city and county they call home, said officials.