Superintendents Voice Property Tax Concerns | VideoJessica Roose | 6/16/2012
It costs money to run a school district, and property taxes play a big part in that. The state has been offering more and more relief as its surplus has grown, giving districts money in exchange for lowering property taxes. But some superintendents say not everyone is treated equally.
"I don`t think most people realize that property tax owners in a district. For instance, my district gets 60-mills relief where as other districts get up to 75-mills," said Hazelton Moffit Braddock Superintendent Brandt Dick.
Dick and the others say the current state funding system, which is based on 2008 mill levies, punishes the districts that held taxes down and were being fiscally conservative.
Steve Holen, superintendent of McKenzie County, said, "To say that we`re going to be tied to where we were in 2008 in the situation that was there with our mill levy is really going to hinder us going forward."
Holen`s district has a relatively low mill levy. Even with rapid growth in the area, there`s not a lot of money to work with.
"The growth is obviously a good thing, but our infrastructure needed to be built up tremendously. We have ran out of space now in our buildings as we fill them back up. So to meet those challenges we`re looking at our local patrons and our tax dollars to see how we can meet these challenges."
"I`m not telling you my district is hurting, I`m telling you my taxpayers. The state has money and they`re not doling it out evenly and equitably," said Mark Weston, superintendent of Central Cass County.
Superintendents say they don`t want to raise taxes again. They just want the state money to be distributed more evenly. They plan to take the issue to the legislature.