Treasurer Excerpt (9)

Why are Finneytown taxes so high?

A question that sometimes comes up is “Why are Finneytown taxes so high?”

Finneytown Local School District is committed to maintaining the highest standards of fiscal responsibility and stewardship. So while the cause isn’t waste or inefficiency, there are some very valid reasons for the district’s high tax effort:

  1. Small tax base – Finneytown ranks 18 out of 22 districts in Hamilton County in terms of the size of its tax base. Finneytown can only raise $195,000 for each mill.  Excluding Cincinnati Public, all other Hamilton County school districts can, on average, raise $619,000 for each mill.
  2. Small commercial/industrial tax base – Commercial and industrial property adds valuation without adding students. Homeowners in districts with significant commercial and industrial property receive significant assistance from local businesses in shouldering the local tax burden. Finneytown also ranks 18 out of 22 districts in Hamilton County in the size of this tax base.
  3. Reasonably priced housing stock – While taxes are high, home prices are very reasonable in Finneytown, allowing more house for the money. A taxpayer in a district with reasonably priced homes can absorb a higher millage than one in a school district with not so reasonably priced homes, without being disproportionately taxed.
  4. Lower inflationary real estate growth – Taxes in low inflationary growth districts appear higher. As inflationary growth occurs, the tax formula reduces the rate of taxation, without reducing the amount of taxation. This happens so that a levy brings in the same amount of taxes after real estate appreciation as it did before the appreciation.
  5. State funding differences – Ohio funds public education on a per pupil basis. However, it is the state share that determines the percentage of the formula that each district actually receives from the state. Among Hamilton County districts, state shares range from 5% to 84%.  Finneytown has a 56% state share. Districts with smaller state shares (based upon their higher wealth factors) typically make up the difference with local property taxes.
  6. No school district income tax – Some districts keep their property taxes lower by turning to a school district income tax for a portion of their revenue. Examples include Wyoming City and Southwest Local.
  7. Low class size and student teacher ratios – Lower class sizes and student teacher ratios are Finneytown traditions that come with added costs. Local property taxes help make this possible.
  8. Full complement of educational programming – Finneytown offers courses not generally found in a school district of this size (orchestra, numerous Advanced Placement class offerings, Great Oaks satellite courses) and routinely exceeds state minimum standards.
  9. Senior staff and competitive salaries – Teaching salary schedules reward experience and college level attainment. Over 50% of Finneytown’s teaching staff have 10+ years of experience, 66% have a master’s degree or higher, and the average teaching salary this year is $64,270.