Idaho school property tax collections down 18%

This year, Idaho lawmakers gave school districts about $106 million, which was meant to ease their reliance on property taxes. New data shows that it worked.

The vast majority of Idaho school districts are asking property taxpayers for less support compared to last year, according to data from the Department of Education. School districts are collecting $108.6 million less in property taxes, an 18% decrease from the previous year.

On average, school property tax levy rates went down from $186 per $100,000 of assessed property value to $132 per $100,000.

“That was the intent, that it would reduce the levy amounts that people are going to have to pay,” said Sen. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee.

To see a breakdown of school districts’ property tax collections compared to last year, click here. Red indicates an increase in total taxes collected or a rate increase. All others decreased.

Grow co-sponsored House Bill 292, which directed about $300 million to property taxpayers through tax credits and a new school facilities fund. The new fund helps school districts pay down bonds and supplemental levies that cover expenses like staff salaries, school operations and building construction when state funding falls short. Roughly $106 million went to the fund this year.

Of the 116 Idaho school districts collecting property taxes, only 15 added to the total amount of taxes they’re bringing in and just five increased their levy rates, according to the new data. Most of the hikes were relatively slight, while the larger ones were in districts that had new supplemental levies approved this year, such as Kootenai, Meadows Valley and Notus.

Those three districts were among the last to pass supplemental levies in March, after HB 292 eliminated March elections moving forward. March was the most popular of the four months school districts could propose bond and supplemental levy measures. They can still host elections in May, August and November.

Meanwhile, many property taxpayers have already seen the HB 292 savings on their bills, which started going out last month. Median-value homeowners in the West Ada School District, for example, had nearly $700 come off their property tax bills, including more than $100 from the school facilities fund, Idaho Education News previously reported.

Altogether, HB 292 trimmed property tax bills by 20%, according to the Senate Republican caucus. The senators in a news release last week took credit for the “successful effort by the Republican-led Senate to ease the financial burdens of its citizens.” However, the legislation was negotiated with House Republicans. House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, who pushed for the school facilities funding, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Idaho Education News data analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this report.

Ryan Suppe

Ryan Suppe

Senior reporter Ryan Suppe covers education policy, focusing on K-12 schools. He previously reported on state politics, local government and business for newspapers in the Treasure Valley and Eastern Idaho. A Nevada native, Ryan enjoys golf, skiing and movies. Follow him on Twitter: @ryansuppe. Contact him at [email protected]

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