Most Marshall County residents are willing to pay a little extra on their property tax bills to ensure they get good-quality public schools. They have proven that for decades by keeping a special levy in place to support schools.
Voters renewed the levy again earlier this month -but by a narrower margin than in the past. This time, 60.15 percent of voters said yes to the higher taxes. The last time the levy was on the ballot, 64 percent were in favor.
Some voters were upset when, earlier this year, the county Board of Education voted to keep the regular tax rate at its normal rate, despite an increase in the value of taxable property in the county.
School officials insisted that even with the increase in taxable property, retaining the old levy rate would bring in only $68,017 more a year for schools. They also pointed out the cost of operating schools has increased, due to factors such as higher prices for bus fuel.
Still, the margin of passage for the special levy shows a substantial number of Marshall County taxpayers remain discontented.
School board members' first priority is - and should be - providing the best education possible for Marshall County children.
At the same time, they owe taxpayers some consideration. This year, then, when regular levy rates are set, board members should consider carefully whether they can continue to provide quality schools while also giving taxpayers a break.