Nobody likes to see their taxes increase, but lake-area residents historically have chosen quality education over less taxes. And that's why our districts rank among the best.

We are fortunate to have some of the best schools in the state right here at the Lake of the Ozarks.

The respective boards of education are visionary in how they lay the foundation for educating the students they represent. The schools provide balanced academic, athletic and extra curricular programs that produce well-rounded young men and women.

But education doesn't come without a cost — in fact, escalating costs.

As consumers, we understand how the cost of living and doing business increases. It's no different for our beloved school districts. Technology is a major expense in today's digital world; districts know that to attract quality teachers and administrators they must pay the price; and the cost to maintain and expand infrastructure is sometimes daunting.

We, the taxpayers, ultimately foot the bill. Yes, there's some help from the state and federal governments, but property owners are the primary source of revenue for our schools. And if we want to maintain the quality within our school districts, we must be willing to pay the bill.

Every August, school districts are required by Missouri law to set their tax levy for the coming fiscal year. It is the levy upon which tax revenue is collected. Also factoring into the sometimes-complex financial picture is the assessed valuation of all real and personal property within the district. If the assessed value of property increases, then the amount of tax revenue generated increases as well.

However, that hasn't been the case in recent years. Superintendents notified their boards of education recently that assessed valuations have been flat — hardly any increase. Yet, the cost of education has continued to rise.

The decision, of course, is either cut costs or raise taxes. Until assessed values increase through increased retail and commercial construction, or through a rise in the assessed value of real and personal property, schools will have to bump their tax levies to maintain the quality of education we've come to appreciate.

Our local school districts are responsible stewards of our money. They choose wisely, they choose with vision and they choose with the best education for our students in mind.

Nobody likes to see their taxes increase, but lake-area residents historically have chosen quality education over less taxes. And that's why our districts rank among the best.