Wyoming Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Reeder announced this week that he is asking the school district’s board to reconsider the tax increase request it approved last week. The board previously decided to ask voters to approve the exact same millage issue in August of this year that failed at the ballot earlier this month. The failed request would have raised $53 million for the school district. This sort of rapid-fire tax increase attack on voters is referred to by the Kent County Taxpayers Alliance as an abusive tax election.
Upon learning about this abusive tax election request, the Kent County Taxpayers Alliance announced that it would oppose the Wyoming Public Schools ballot issue in August. KCTA pointed out that the school district’s leadership claimed it wanted maximum participation of the community, yet the district defended the use of a May election in the first place. May elections traditionally are very low turnout. KCTA supports holding tax elections only in August or November, when most voters expect to be voting.
Now, under pressure from KCTA, the district’s leadership has abruptly changed course and is rethinking the decision it made just last week. The new millage request will be held in November of this year and the total amount is being re-evaluated so that it will appeal to more voters.
“We applaud the school district’s leadership for rethinking its abusive tax election request,” said Jeff Steinport, spokesperson for KCTA. “Taxpayers deserve better than to be beaten over the head with successive, identical tax elections. The school district is doing the right thing in evaluating its needs and coming back to the community, hat in hand, with a more modest proposal.”