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ACSD education tax rates revised downward

MIDDLEBURY — It’s a yearly, late-January disclaimer from school budget preparers when district spending plans have to be put to bed in order to meeting the annual town meeting warning deadline: “These figures could change by Town Meeting Day, depending on decisions made in the Statehouse.”
Well, those words are proving prophetic for the fiscal year 2022 Addison Central School District budget. School directors in January endorsed a $40.3 million spending plan to cover preK-12 public education expenses for children in Bridport, Cornwall, Ripton, Middlebury, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge during the 2021-2022 academic year. At the time, ACSD officials were forecasting the budget would force a district-wide education tax increase of 12 cents per $100 in assessed property value. But because of Common Level of Appraisal factors, the actual property tax impact for individual towns was slated to vary from 6 cents (in Shoreham, Weybridge and Ripton) to 18 cents in Salisbury.
Now lawmakers in Montpelier are pointing to several recent school financing trends that figure to substantially reduce Vermont towns’ education tax rates below the original forecasts. Among those trends: A healthier Education Fund, lower-than-expected school spending proposals statewide, and pending legislation that could further mitigate the property tax impacts of school spending.
Based on the latest financials coming from Montpelier, the ACSD budget is projected to produce an equalized district tax rate of $1.64, which would be a 4-cent decrease compared to this year.
The estimated district tax rate is then divided by each town’s Common Level of Appraisal, as set by the Vermont Department of Taxes, to determine each town’s estimated tax rate. So the new tax rate estimates are:
Bridport: $1.78 per $100, a 4-cent bump.
Cornwall: $1.76, a 3-cent increase.
Middlebury: $1.64, a 2-cent rise.
Ripton: $1.83, a 4-cent decline.
Salisbury: $1.87, a 7-cent hike.
Shoreham: $1.67, a 4-cent drop.
Weybridge: $1.70, a 4-cent drop.
It should also be noted that many Vermonters pay their school taxes based on income taxes, as opposed to property value.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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