Taxpayers within Douglas Unified School District
RE: 2014-2015 Tax Rates
In the 2013-14 fiscal year, our tax rates dropped due to a calculation driven by forms developed at the state level and required to be used by statute. This drop in the tax rate left DUSD and other school districts in Cochise County in a position where we have to make up for the lost revenue that took place as a result of the prior three year drop in property taxes.
When informed of this discrepancy, several of the school districts in Cochise County worked closely with the County Supervisors, the County Treasurer, the County Schools Superintendent, and the County Attorney to minimize the impact of making up this revenue. We have worked to make up this difference over a two year period versus a one year period, thus lessening the impact of a property tax increase in a single year.
Property tax payers will see an increase in property tax over the next two years simply to cover the decrease they saw last year. This means property tax payers will pay the same sum they would have paid over a three year period, but not as evenly as we would like to have seen it.
Over time, the Arizona State Legislature has slowly transferred the burden of paying for public schools to local tax payers and this is evidence of such tactics. The main cause of this sequence of events begins with the State Legislature shifting payments to schools into the fiscal year following the year in which expenses were incurred instead of meeting their obligations during the same fiscal year as had been practiced for decades. For DUSD this means that $4.2 million that should have been paid by June 30, was not paid until July 7th.
While we have been given a difficult situation to manage, we do want taxpayers to know many parties worked very hard to even out our tax rates and to prevent an increase that would drastically exceed last year’s rate.
Working together, raising standards, and developing leaders!