Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Back to School Monday (on Tuesday): Local School Funding

Technical difficulties and, erm, other difficulties, prevented me from getting this up yesterday. I dock myself a letter grade.

This will be the last really boring post for a while. Starting next week we get into the fun stuff, i.e. the truly scandalous elements of Ohio's school funding system. Last week we did the basics of the state aid formula; tonight we have to look at how local school districts raise their own money.
Local school districts are creatures of statue and, as such, have only those powers confered by statute. The primary power confered on school boards for raising money is the power to levy property taxes.

Property taxes are expressed in mills. A mill in one tenth of one percent, that is, each mill raises a tenth of a percent of the taxable value of the property. For residential property, taxable value is, on average, 35%.

A school district can impose up to ten mills without a popular vote. These are inside mills. Any additional tax imposed as a result of a vote are outside mills. For reference, Akron has 4.2 inside mills.

In addition to residential property, a school district also, for the time being, taxes business personal property. This can include inventory, business machines, that sort of thing.

This gives you the basic information to follow the next couple posts. Next week: House Bill 920 and phantom revenue.


The tax levy law is R.C. ch. 5705
As always, I'm indebted to the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign for making sense of it all.