As noted in the FY 16 Budget FAQs distributed at the April 15th Board meeting, when the good people of Eliot and South Berwick see their taxes rising, they ask: Why do my taxes keep going up even though we are tuitioning into our district Rollinsford’s 7th-12th grade students next year?
The recommended district budget for next year would have resulted in a -4.2% reduction in the local tax assessment had the state not shifted its costs to local taxpayers in three major areas next year.
First, the district will receive $33,763 less from the state in General Purpose Aid.
Secondly, two years ago the state shifted 2.65% or $358,739 of its cost for teacher pensions from the state to our district. Next year, the portion of the state’s contribution passed onto local districts will rise from 2.65% to 3.36% which means that our district will incur an additional expenditure of $106,973 bringing the total annual sum for teacher retirement passed onto to our district by the state to: $465,712.
Finally, the state adjusted the required mil rate to 8.48 thereby raising the local contribution by local municipalities for education in our district by $524,597.
Had these three significant cost shifts from the state to local taxpayers not occurred [totaling $1,024,072] the impact would have been a reduction in the local assessment of (-4.2%).
As noted in the Budget FAQs, the rate of increase in local assessment has steadily gone down over the last four years despite the state shifting much of the tax burden for schools onto local communities. This lowered rate of change is largely due to the district’s efficient operation and the tuitioning in of Rollinsford’s 7th-12th grade students next year.
The Percent Change in Local Assessment for the Past 4 Years:
FY13 FY14 FY15 FY16
7.6% 5.6% 4.6% 2.1%
There has been some indication recently that the state legislature may consider increasing the subsidy for local school districts next year. However, there is no assurance that this will happen or if it does happen that it will happen prior to the May 27th District Budget Meeting. Therefore, I am proposing a new Article 20 for inclusion on the May 27th District Budget Meeting’s warrant articles which would share any increase in state subsidy evenly on a 50/50 basis with our taxpayers. This means that 50% of any new subsidy money would go towards tax payers’ relief and 50% would be placed in the Board’s capital improvement account to help pay for the new bus garage.
Mary Nash, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools