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Kamras calls for tax hike to support schools

Jeremy Lazarus | 10/18/2018, 6 a.m.
More money, please. That’s the call from Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras.

Jason Kamras

Jason Kamras

More money, please.

That’s the call from Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras.

He issued that call in an email Wednesday urging City Council to raise an additional $20 million for public schools by raising the tax rate on homes, business property and other real estate for the first time in 10 years.

His proposal, considered a long shot by most observers, calls for the council to raise the property tax rate by 10 cents — from the current $1.20 to $1.30 per $100 of assessed value — and to earmark the projected $20 million to RPS, with about $13 million to support his academic improvement plan and the remainder to pay for new school construction.

The current rate translates to a $1,200 city tax bill on property valued at $100,000; it would go to $1,300 if the council adopted the Kamras request.

Council is still mulling the real estate tax rate to be effective in January 2019, with most members focusing on the question of a reduction.

The current proposal before the council would maintain the $1.20 rate, which has been in place since 2008.

Mr. Kamras acknowledged that his proposal is likely to create a backlash.

School Board member Jonathan Young, 4th District, became the first critic.

“I will fight this proposed tax increase with every ounce of breath in my body,” he said, calling for better management rather than a tax hike.