Conway School District - December 2021
What is a local levy and how much is our levy rate?
A local property tax passed by voters of a school district that generates tax revenue for local school districts. All money generated by school district levies goes directly to the school district to pay for costs beyond what the state funds for basic education.
How has Conway’s Levy Changed over the last 10 years?
Costs associated with running the school district have continued to increase without a significant difference in the revenue from the state. While the state increased funding in 2019, they decreased the amount Conway could collect in local taxes. The net result was less combined revenue with an increase in expenditures.
Like all other districts, we have to rely on local levies to meet expenses. Here are the numbers for the last 10 years. In 2019 with the "levy swap" our local taxes were significantly reduced (42%) but the state did not completely make up the difference with promised revenue (increased by 35%).
Personnel costs continue to increase each year but the state does not provide for those increases. Conway is similar to most districts, with over 85% of our costs for personnel.
Special Education funding continues to be inadequate from the state level. In order to meet the needs of our most impacted students we often have additional staff and transportation costs. We rely on local dollars to fund those expenses.
Property taxes for Conway School District Levies are based on the assessed value of property; they are NOT based on the number of students enrolled in the district.
Local tax levy pays for basic education for students. Here are a few ways levy funds are expended:
- Professional development,
- non-high costs (paying for kids who reside in the district to go to high school),
- extra curricular activities,
- STEM, music, art, special education and
- maintaining our campus.
All of those are basic costs that the district incurs regardless of the number of students who are enrolled in the district.
The district is seeking approval of voters for an inflationary rate to be added to our current levy. This will ensure we can meet the additional costs of staffing, products and services over the next four years.
Based on the current assessed valuation of homes and predicted adjustments over the next four years, property owners will see their amount per $1,000 of assessed value decrease for local taxes, continuing the trend of less taxes for schools each year. We have predicted the state tax rate staying the same, if it increases then the overall tax rate would increase as well. The next graph shows tax rates from 2011 projected to 2026.
The bond voters approved in 2013 continues to decrease each year, therefore the amount per $1,000 of assessed value decreases each year. The bond started at $1,27/$1,000 in 2013 and has steadily decreased to the current rate of $.93/$1,000. The bond rate will continue to decrease each year of the bond and we anticipate a larger decrease after we refinance the bond in 2023, which should save the taxpayers in excess of $900,000 over the next 10 years.