FOWLER – An operating property tax referendum for residents in Benton County could be a possibility to help with the financial situation for Benton Community School Corp., depending on the advice of a recently created financial advisory committee.

Superintendent Gregg Hoover announced the creation of the committee earlier in the month, formed to assess financial challenges and to improve the financial health of the district. It is composed of 14 members, including Hoover, school board members Jennifer Barce and Robert Sondgeroth, Benton Schools Director of Finance Tracy Albertson and 10 other members of the community.

Budget presentations over the past two years have shown a downward trend in fund balance in the district’s savings account, according to a press release, and that has caused the administration and school board to take a closer look into its expenses and revenues. Benton Community School Corp. has a policy of keeping 10 percent of the fund balance, which allows for some flexibility in budgeting and can help pay for any unanticipated expenses.

In July, a survey was administered to 267 registered voters in Benton County, with one of the questions gauging potential support for an operating levy referendum, or a tax to support additional funds for day-to-day school operating costs.

Initial support for the operating levy referendum from the survey was at 50.6 percent and informed support was at 62.6 percent, according to results posted on the Benton Community School Corp. website.
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