Delmar Events
Thursday, October 7th. 1999
 
Seniors could get school tax break
By Faith Melvin
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, the Delmar School Board held a special hearing to gather community opinion on the possibility of a tax break for people 65 or older.
This tax break would be in the amount of 50 percent of the school tax, up to $500. The board heard comments from various members of the elderly community and other concerned citizens.
This tax break is made possible by Senate substitution for Senate Bill 1. This bill proposes such a tax break for citizens within a school district who are 65 or older. Individual districts can decide whether or not to extend the tax break to senior citizens.
The citizens in attendance were in support of the tax break. Many of them said that Delmar's elderly population is struggling with the increase in school tax.
Delmar school taxes have increased for several reasons. First, the referendum that was past two years ago initially raised Delmar taxes to pay for the new school building. As proposed at the time, this portion of Delmar taxes has decreased since last year by 19 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
The additional changes in the tax bill are not in the school district's hands. They are required by the state.
The major increase in the school tax comes from an increase in tuition for students in special placements. These placements range from alternative schools to schools for blind, deaf or autistic children.
Delmar district members are required to pay 82 cents this year, an increase of 12 cents from last year. Many districts in the state are paying a much less tuition tax, since there are more people in these districts to share the burden.
Some northern districts are paying from 1 to 5 cents. Delmar superintendent George Stone suggests that Delmar is playing 250 times more than other districts. He believes that this tax is unfair to small districts and said that he has made this his number one legislative priority this year.
He urged the members of the Delmar School District to contact their local legislators and express their opinion about this tax.
The House substitute bill for House Bill 1 gives school districts money to be used for improvements at the district's discretion.
Since Delmar is below the 100 percent equalization equation, it cannot use this money for tax breaks. The administration is taking recommendations for how this money can be used to improve the district.
The board is accepting comments on these two pieces of legislation. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of every month at the school. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. Contact Stone or President Tim Smith for more information.