To support the effort of the Chadron Public Schools' Board of Education and the Office of the Superintendent, I thought I'd share this information. The Chadron School Board has been very active in educating the public as well as political leaders of the challenges in fairly funding schools across the state. The following is a summary of information sent to media outlets recently on behalf of our Superintendent with the support of our School Board.
Chadron Property Tax and School Funding Challenges
The spike in agricultural land valuations has lessened the State of Nebraska’s constitutional obligation to support (fund) public schools, shifting more of the cost to local property taxpayers.
The shift is particularly intense in the Chadron Public School District where more than 40% of our property is non-taxed (ex. federal and state lands). This results in 10% of our residents paying 40% of the property taxes.
The following are comparisons from the 2006-07 school year to the current 2015-16 year according to data from the Nebraska Department of Education as well as the office of the Superintendent of Chadron Public Schools:
- Property taxes in the Chadron school district increased 6.0% annually, while the state average increased only 0.1% annually during the same 10 year span.
- in 2006, state aid to Chadron schools was approximately $2 million more than collected in property tax revenue. In 2015, that scenario is reversed where property tax revenue is nearly $1 million more than state aid.
- During the last 10 years, state aid to Chadron schools decreased at 1.26% annually, while the statewide average increased by 2.91% annually.
- During the last 10 years, total revenue (state aid & taxes) for Chadron schools decreased at a rate of 0.32% while statewide revenue increased to school districts by an average of 3% per year.
- Spending for Chadron Public Schools has increased by only 0.98% annually over the past 10 years, while the average statewide school spending increased by 3% annually.
The Nebraska Legislature’s Revenue and Education committees will discuss school funding and property taxes over the next couple of months and citizens are encouraged to contact state senators to share their concerns regarding this data. It is the legislative responsibility to address property taxes and public school funding, by making your voice heard, you can help lawmakers understand the urgent need to take action regarding these challenges.