Milford lowers school tax for fifth year in a row

Terry Rogers Education, Headlines

On Tuesday, July 5, Milford School District Board of Education voted to lower school taxes for the fifth year in a row. Chief Financial Officer Sara Croce presented the tax rate for review at a previous meeting, explaining the components that make up the school tax rate.

“There were no changes from the last presentation, and we feel this is rate is what we will need moving forward,” Croce said. “This year, we are proposing a rate of $1.6995 per hundred dollars of assessed value in Kent and $4.8028 per hundred in Sussex. Again, the rates are different for each county due to the way assessments are calculated in each county.”

Five years ago, the property tax rate for Milford School District was $3.5682 in Sussex County and $1.9077 in Kent County. In FY2016-17, however, the district was forced to increase the tuition tax significantly to cover the cost of children receiving special services. That same year, there was an operations referendum that also increased taxes slightly, raising it to $5.3913 in Sussex and $1.2626.

Since that year, the district has begun offering special services for children within the district in order to reduce the tuition cost to send them out of the district for the same services. They have expanded their Autism programs as well as others that will help them provide federally required services to children with special needs. Doing so helps reduce the tuition cost and has allowed them to slowly lower school taxes over the past five years.

The district has also paid down debt service for capital improvement referendums passed several years ago. As debt service is paid down, the tax rate for that portion of the school tax is also reduced.

“I think we need to recognize that we have been able to reduce our tax rate over the past five years,” Board Member David Vezmar said.