FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — Beechwood Independent Schools says it needs to tear down and replace two nearly century-old school buildings. As a result, taxes for Fort Mitchell residents will soon be going up.
That can be a dilemma for parents, but not for Taylor Duncan and Amber Mitchell.
“I guess the reason we chose Beechwood is it has a reputation of educational excellence and it’s a public school,” said Duncan.
Duncan said he moved to Fort Mitchell this year so his daughter Grey could one day go to Beechwood Schools. He agrees something needs to be done to update the old buildings.
“It’s never fun when somebody says they’re going to increase taxes. But, at least in this case, I think it’s something I can really get behind,” Duncan said.
The elementary school buildings – one built in 1927 and the other in 1933 – have foundation issues, aging pipes and wooden infrastructure that make it too risky and expensive to renovate them, officials say.
Mitchell has been inside the 92-year-old elementary school several times. Her son Elijah goes there.
“The building is extremely old. We’re not talking just 20 years. It’s getting pretty up there in age,” Mitchell said.
The school board approved a 3% tax increase this week in addition to a facilities tax increase in May.
“Yeah, that came as a bit of a shock,” Mitchell said.
But Mitchell said students need a safe place to go to school and she agrees with Duncan.
“Whatever we need in order to upgrade the building and make it safe and healthy and stable for the children,” Mitchell said.
With the average home value in Fort Mitchell at $274,000, according to the district, yearly taxes on a typical home would go up $274.
“I think that anything that goes toward improving the school will actually, in turn, improve Fort Mitchell because it will continue to ensure that people keep moving into the city,” said Duncan.
All the money raised through the facilities tax have to be spent on improving or replacing district buildings.
The superintendent, Dr. Mike Stacy, said the district will apply for the commonwealth to match those funds. If things move quickly, he said work could start as early as next summer.