August 17, 2006

SCR-I School Board Honors Pledge To Lower Tax Levy

A year after raising the property tax levy to the maximum level, the Scotland County R-I School Board honored its promise to constituents by returning the SCR-I levy to the 2004 rate of $3.36 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The board voted to lower the Tax Rate from $3.65 to $3.36 as promised last year, stated Superintendent Dave Shalley. The $3.65 rate was used to take advantage of the phasing out of the old formula which was tax rate driven. This was a one-year situation that many schools were able to take advantage of.

The district implemented the one-year tax hike to its advantage, generating approximately $140,000 more in state aid last year and leveraging that higher tax base into an estimated additional $400,000 in state aid over the full seven years that the states new education funding formula is phased in. The phase-in will utilize all schools 2005 tax rate to calculate state aid for the seven-year period.

When the plan was implemented in 2005, SCR-I estimated that the hike in the local levy 29 cents from $3.36 to $3.65 would cost the owner of a home appraised in the $90,000 neighborhood about $50 a year more. Owners of two newer vehicles paid $20-$25 more while farm ground cost roughly $100 more in local taxes for every 500 acres.

By lowering the rate back to the $3.36 level, local taxpayers in those situations should see similar savings in 2006.

Shalley pointed out that the new rate of $3.36 is below the state performance levy of $3.43. By law all schools with the lower rate will be required to submit in writing that the districts students are receiving an adequate education. If this fact is not documented, the state will deem unsatisfactory educational results as a lack of local effort with the inadequate tax rate.

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