The York school board approved a planned property tax increase on businesses last week in the final step of its annual budget process.
The board approved a tax increase for school operations that is the largest it’s allowed under state law, said Superintendent Vernon Prosser. Taxes used to pay debt service will remain unchanged.
Under the increase for school operations, businesses assessed at a rate of 6 percent, which includes most retail businesses and the owners of second homes, would pay $24 more in taxes each year for each $100,000 in assessed value.
Manufacturing businesses, which are assessed at 10.5 percent, would pay $42 more for each $100,000 in assessed property value, under the change.
The budget year began July 1.
The $38.6 million spending plan for the budget year that began July 1 was approved in June, based on the planned tax increase.
However, finance director Amy Hagner said the board has traditionally waited until August to approve the tax rate. “It’s just been practice that the board waits until August” to approve the tax increase, she said.
Prosser said that when the board approved the budget, it didn’t have the final word from Columbia about state funding for education.
“There are some things that can change from the time you approve your budget in June to the time you come back in August and have to run your district,” Prosser said.
The 2014-15 budget included three new positions: A special education teacher, a science teacher at York Comprehensive High School and a district-level director of pupil services, said Hagner.
Prosser said the rest of the local budget maintains the status quo, although state funding allocations will allow the district to expand its half-day 4K program to a full day and add reading interventionists in all five elementary schools.
Prosser said the property tax increase approved by the school board will generate about $200,000 in added revenue.
Under South Carolina’s Act 388, enacted in 2007, owner-occupied homes are exempt from property taxes that pay for school operations, though they continue to pay taxes for debt service.
Prosser said the district expects to spend around $190,000, including benefits, for the three new positions.