To the Dover students, parents, taxpayers and concerned citizens;
Recently there have been newspaper articles, interviews, and letters from state officials in regards to the school tax rates. These have been causing many people angst and anger. The most recent letter from the tax commissioner to the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tempore states that the state will increase the homestead tax rate from $1.50 to $1.594 and the non-residential tax rate of $1.535 to $1.629. Please remember that these are estimated rates, and not based on the budgets adopted by the individual towns.
As we have in the past, the Dover School Board has always worked hard to present an affordable budget, and this year will be no different. Preliminary school budget figures show that we should have a total budget under last year’s budget. That, coupled with our work to control the per-pupil expenses, our belief that there will be an increase in our weighted average daily membership, and the ability the voters give us to move some capital money into the budget should result in a FY-2019 homestead tax rate at or very close to that of the FY-2018 Dover homestead tax rate.
Although we can’t control or influence the non-residential tax rate as we can the residential tax rate, we share the serious concerns of our business, and second homeowners (non-residential tax payers) who are facing a significant increase in property tax rates regardless of where the Dover School budget falls. We also plan to remain engaged in the statewide discussions of education finance as we have since Act 60 was first passed into law.
Again, it will be important to be at Town Meeting on March 6, at the Dover Town Hall located at the Dover Common so that we will be able to review these numbers with you and explain how the board has been able to keep a fairly stable tax rate over the past several years.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to stop by a Dover School Board meeting: the first Monday of the month at the Wardsboro Elementary School at 6 pm; and the third Monday at Dover Elementary School also at 6 pm. The River Valleys Unified School District board meets immediately following the Dover Board meetings at 7 pm. As always I can be reached by phone at (802) 380-7731.
On behalf of the Dover School Board
Richard J. Werner