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12:32 PM Wed, Sept. 19th

Chino school district public hearing is on Adjacent Ways levy, not property taxes

The state law requiring the Chino Valley Unified School District to post its Adjacent Ways levy as a Truth in Taxation Hearing had some residents worried about a possible hike in their property taxes.

Those citizens calmed down during Monday evening's public hearing when Student Services Director John Scholl explained that the way the Adjacent Ways levy is presented is a "misconception, but we have to do it that way."

Resident Claudette Johnson said she was glad she attended the governing board meeting. She said that when she read about a possible 25 percent tax increase, she was concerned because, economically, "It is getting harder and harder for homeowners and businesspeople."

Gail Allen, who said she was also misled about a possible increase, told the governing board, "There has to be a better way to present this."

Scholl said the district is asking for a continuation of the Adjacent Ways levy of $100,000.

"We collect Adjacent Ways through a tax levy, and this would be the fourth year the district has collected it," Scholl stated. "Adjacent Ways is the only tax levy the school board has any control of. The remaining taxes are established through the state Legislature or bonding."

Scholl said district taxes would not increase. "If I had to guess, they will probably go down because of fewer students."

The district's primary tax rate for fiscal year is $2.7647 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The district uses the money from the Adjacent Ways levy for improvements along school property lines. During the 2010-11 school year, the money paid for curbs, gutters sidewalks and sewer improvement to Chino Valley High School and the district office project on Center Street.

"The district can only use the money for improvements along its property lines, or fire and bus lanes," Scholl noted.

The director said the district would like to add sidewalks and gutters at the other three schools, as anyone walking in front of the elementary and middle schools must walk in the roadway.

Scholl estimated property owners would pay $5 per $100,000 of assessed valuation for the Adjacent Ways levy.

He said the levy is about two percent of the district's tax rate, and "the legislature controls 90 percent of the tax rate."

Superintendent Duane Noggle added that the district could levy up to 4 percent of its Maintenance and Operations budget for adjacent ways, which could be more than $400,000. However, he said the district keeps the levy at a conservative $100,000.

During the regular session, the governing board approved, by a roll call vote, the district's fiscal year 2012 $11,963,572 final budget.

State law requires school districts to submit their final budget to the Department of Education on or before July 15.

The budget includes $11,375,286 for M&O; $386,972 for unrestricted capital; $101,314 for soft capital; and the $100,000 Adjacent Ways levy.