To the editor: Expect education tax rate to drop

Several factors go into our education tax rates – education spending and the number of students, for example.

But no aspect of the formula has as significant an effect on whether we pay more or less in taxes than the Common Level of Appraisal.

Last year, a swing in the CLA was largely responsible for a big jump in our education tax rate, but this year’s calculation has swung back even farther and should reduce the tax rate dramatically.

The CLA is a number that reflects how close the sales prices for properties in a town are to the tax assessments. If they match, the number is 1. The higher a town’s number, the lower its tax rate. Last year, Chester’s CLA went from 1.06 to 1.02 and tax rates went up. This year, the CLA went back up to 1.11 so taxes will go down.

How much? If the state sticks to the projected increase of 2 cents to the base rate, Chester residents will see as much as a 5-cent tax drop while non-resident rates will go down as much as 9 cents.

School boards can work hard to control education expenses, but under the current formula a huge amount depends on the CLA and – for this year at least – it’s cutting our taxes.

Alison DesLauriers
Chester Town School Board

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