No community members attended Monday evening’s annual truth in taxation public hearing for , but it’s not likely that many people will find reason to be upset when they see their 2012 local school property taxes.
The school board passed a levy that will lower its portion of the local tax rate 3.15 percent over last year, despite the increase in the new operating levy.
Local taxpayers will be paying $511,368 for the voter-approved referendum in 2012, but declining property values play a big role in negating this additional tax. Because the market value of district property declined by 4 percent from the previous year, the state will kick in more and local taxpayers will be paying $725,000 less in next year. After all funds are accounted for, the levy will be $377,294 less than last year.
For the total numbers, the general levy (tax dollars collected from the state) will be about $39.8 million, up slightly from 2010-2011 (less than $100,00 in fact).
The dip will come in the community service fund, which is the local tax collection. That was at about $4.4 million in the 2010-2011 budget. Revenues will drop by the approximated $377,294 here.
“Each year the payment is equalized in relation to the ratio of the amount of debt to the tax capacity of the school district,” Behle explained. “In other words, state aid pays a portion of the debt based upon the district’s capacity to finance the debt. The state will pay approximately 40 percent of the debt compared to 32 percent last year.”
Though property owners will see a reduction in the school portion of their taxes, Behle cautioned that this doesn’t necessarily mean their overall taxes will be dropping, since city and county taxes make up part of the equation as well. Additionally, he said many will likely see an increase due to state legislation which eliminated the, which used to reduce the taxable value of qualifying homesteads. Exemptions can apply, he said for those making under a certain income.
For the current school year, the school district is receiving nearly 89 percent of it’s funding from the state, 8.1 percent from property tax levies and only 1.5 percent from the federal government. Over 73 percent of this funding goes into classroom instruction, and nearly 80 percent of the money goes to salary, wages and employee benefits. Sites and buildings make up the next largest budget category, taking up 13 percent of the annual budget. District and school administration takes 4.2 percent of the current year’s budget.
These hard numbers will aid the school district as it works toward creating a budget for the 2012-2013 school year, which is currently underway and will be passed in June.