Cache schools to lose millions due to county mistake
CACHE, Okla. (KSWO) - In a letter to Cache Public Schools staff, parents, and local residents, Cache Superintendent Chad Hance shed light on the discovery of a major clerical error, which will cause the school district to lose millions of dollars.
County Assessor Grant Edwards recently notified Cache Public Schools that a clerical error was made with the assessed valuation in the district, or the value of real property across the school district. Assessed valuation is used when determining how much funding each school receives from the county, which helps the district set their annual budget.
Edwards says that mistakes were made when the figures were gathered, certified, and reported from the 2021 tax season. The error inadvertently increased the community’s value by $51 million, throwing off this year’s budget. Even though the mistake was made in March of 2021, it was not reported to Cache Public Schools until June of 2022. The district has been using the time since the notification, to better understand how it will affect taxpayers and the district.
Cache Superintendent Chad Hance says that due to the error, the district will face multiple budget shortages.
The sinking fund used to pay the bond debt, will be $700,000 short of this year’s payment. Which means residents within the Cache district are likely to see around a 15% increase on their upcoming tax notices from the county assessor’s office in December. The increase would then be followed by a scheduled increase from the May 2022 bond election of approximately 5% the following year.
The next shortage will be against the district’s general fund, which is used to pay most expenses, including salaries. Due to the error, the fund will now be reduced by $2 million, forcing the district staff to make difficult decisions. Hance says that while they are focused on providing students with safe, clean and well-maintained schools, they believe larger classroom sizes may be necessary this school year.
The last shortage will affect the district’s building fund, which is used to upkeep facilities across the district, and will now be reduced to $300,000. The district says that is will not affect the upkeep of the school grounds, but they will have to put improvements and new district projects on hold for the time being.
Lastly, Cache Superintendent Chad Hance expressed his apologies to the staff, students and local residents in the following statement:
“Although this mistake happened at the county office, I want to express my sincere apologies to Cache taxpayers for the impact it will have on them and their families. This is a community that supports public education and gives generously to its schools to ensure students have what they need to be successful. I value and want to protect the trust and relationships that our district has built with local residents. I am sorry this situation occurred.”
If residents have any questions about how their taxes will be affected by the error, they are invited to contact the county assessor’s office at (580) 585-5220.
Cache Superintendent Chad Hance also invited residents to contact him at (580) 429-3266, if they have any other questions about how the error will affect the district.
To read the full letter from Cache Superintendent Chad Hance, click here.
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