STUDENT POPULATION DECLINING, BUDGET INCREASING
The Anchorage Assembly this week approved a 1.3 percent property tax increase that will bring the Municipality another $3.3 million to fund the growing Anchorage School District budget.
It’s an increase that city fathers say taxpayers will hardly notice.
The Assembly also approved spending $885 million on the school district’s operating budget, a 13 percent increase over last year.
The associated mill rate for schools will hit 7.15, a 3.5 percent increase over the current rate. For comparison, the school portion of the mill rate was 6.79 in 2007. By 2017, it had crept up to 6.92.
Overall, the current mill rate for Anchorage real properties is about 16.4, for all local government and school services.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
According to Realtor Connie Yoshimura, the tax on a $350,000 home in Anchorage is $5,740 while a $500,000 home owes $8,200 to the Muni, excluding any exemptions entitled to the Anchorage property owner.
The increased school tax will add between $74 and $107 to the property taxes of homes in this valuation range.
The school district’s final budget won’t be final until after the State budget is signed, which is expected before the beginning of the State’s fiscal year beginning July 1.
Anchorage schools are primarily funded through the State of Alaska “foundation funding formula” and local property taxes. Federal revenue come from Federal Impact Aid and reimbursements for JRTOTC instructors, and Medicaid. A small amount of revenue is generated by things like facility rentals.
However, Gov. Michael Dunleavy has proposed pulling back the state’s reimbursement of local school construction bonds, which now reimburses locally approved projects.
That would leave those due payments on bonds to Anchorage property taxpayers, and could cost them an average of $430 per homeowner.
The Anchorage School District budget is predicated on assumptions that there will be no change to the state’s base student allocation, which is $5,930 per student, or foundation funding formula. The district was also counting on an additional $8.4 million that was in House Bill 287, passed in by the 2018 Legislature, which gave extra funding outside the foundation formula. The district assumes there will be no decrease in the State’s debt reimbursement.
Meanwhile, Anchorage voters are facing another tax increase in a ballot proposition in the current municipal ballot, which would have voters approve another $59.1 million in capital spending for schools. A homeowner with a $300,000 valuation would pay an additional $40 a year in property taxes if this bond passes. Ballots are due in by April 2.