View the results of the Tax Levy Cap Quiz
January 12, 2012 -
On December 6, in an attempt to address some important key points
and help clear up misinformation, the district created a brief,
8-question online "quiz" for residents to test their knowledge about the
new tax levy cap legislation.
As of January 8, 37 people had taken the quiz with an
average quiz score of 71 percent. The results for each individual
question are posted below:
True or false: Under the new tax
levy cap law, my tax bill will only increase by 2%.
Quiz Results: 92% correct answers,
8% incorrect answers
Explanation: The tax cap law does
NOT cap an individual’s school tax bill. Increases in individual tax
bills are often different from increases in the tax levy due to a
variety of factors outside a school district’s control, and this will
continue to be true.
True or False: The new law will
limit the district’s tax levy increase by 2%
Quiz Results: 71% correct; 29%
Explanation: The new law has been
referred to as a “2 percent tax cap,” but the law itself does NOT limit
how much the tax levy can actually increase under a proposed budget. The
law does, however, require at least 60 percent voter approval for a
school budget if the proposed levy increase exceeds a certain amount.
That amount, called the “tax levy limit,” will be calculated by each
district according to a formula outlined in the law.
Multiple Choice: Why is the "tax
levy limit" important?
A. The “tax levy limit” is the
highest allowable tax levy, before exemptions, that a school district
can propose and only need the approval of a simple majority of voters
(more than 50 percent).
B. The "tax levy limit" is a 2%
increase from last year - the same for all public school districts.
C. A school district cannot propose
an amount higher than the "tax levy limit."
Quiz Results: 79% correct; 21%
Explanation: The "tax levy limit" is
different for each school district based on an 8-part formula as
dictated by the Legislation. Though much publicized, the “lesser of 2
percent or the rate of inflation (CPI)” is only one factor in a school
district’s “tax levy limit.” The new law does not in fact restrict any
proposed tax levy increase to two percent.
Furthermore, a school district can propose an amount higher than the
"tax levy limit" -- a super majority of more than 60% of voter approval
would be necessary. Essentially, the “tax levy limit” sets a threshold
requiring districts to obtain a higher level of community support for a
proposed tax levy above a certain amount.
True or false: When calculating the
"tax levy limit," the new law takes into account some expenses that are
outside the district's control.
Quiz Results: 66% correct; 34%
Explanation: There are certain
expenses such as some pension costs, voter-approved local capital
expenditures and court orders that are exempt from a district’s "tax
levy limit" calculation. However, tax certioraris are not exempt.
These exemptions are then added to the "tax levy limit" to find a
district's "maximum allowable levy."
As a result, a districts final tax levy could be
greater than its "tax levy limit" yet still be considered within that
limit, under the new law.
Multiple Choice: Do district
residents still vote on the school budget?
A. Yes, on March 1.
B. Yes, on the third Tuesday in May.
C. No, there are no budget votes
under the new law.
Quiz Results: 79% correct; 21%
Explanation: Residents will continue
to vote on a proposed budget on the third Tuesday in May -- May 15,
2012. The vote will be held from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Board of
Education in the Main Street Building.
On March 1, a school district must submit its unique
“tax levy limit” to the state.
True or False: The Board of
Education's options include: Proposing a budget requiring a tax levy
before exemptions at or below the “tax levy limit," requiring a simple
majority of 50% voter approval; or proposing a budget requiring a tax
levy before exemptions above the “tax levy limit,” requiring a super
majority of 60% voter approval. This also requires a statement on the
ballot indicating the required tax levy before exemptions exceeds the
“tax levy limit.”
Quiz Results: 84% correct; 16%
Explanation: Before exemptions, a
tax levy that is at or below the "tax levy limit" requires a simple
majority, while a tax levy that exceeds the "tax levy limit" requires a
super majority. By law, a proposed tax levy that is above the "tax levy
limit" must include a statement on the ballot on May 15.
Please note that if a tax levy exceeds the "tax levy
limit" after exemptions, then only a simple majority is needed.
Multiple Choice: What happens if the
budget is voted down twice by district residents, and is forced to adopt
a contingency budget?
A. As in previous years, a
contingency budget would mean that the district could not increase
spending by more than 120 percent of the average change in Consumer
Price Index (CPI) or 4 percent, whichever is lower.
B. Under the new law, a district
that adopts a contingency budget can levy a tax no greater than that of
the prior budget year – which amounts to a 0 percent increase.
C. There will be a 2 percent
increase in the tax levy.
Quiz Results: 55% correct; 45%
Explanation: Certain existing
contingency budget requirements will remain in effect that prohibit
spending in specific areas including community use of buildings, certain
salary increases and new equipment purchases.
The most significant effect of a contingency budget
is that a district cannot increase its current tax levy by any amount.
This results in a zero percent increase from the previous year.
True or false: After a school
district calculates its “tax levy limit,” it then adds exemptions into
that amount to find its "maximum allowable levy." Adding these
exemptions may cause the "maximum allowable levy" to be higher than a
district's "tax levy limit" and would require 60 percent of votes to
pass the budget.
Quiz Results: 32% correct; 68%
Explanation: A super majority of 60
percent of voters is required to pass the budget ONLY when the tax levy
exceeds the district’s "tax levy limit" BEFORE exemptions, such as some
pension costs, voter-approved local capital expenditures and court
To learn more about the tax levy cap law, or to take the
tax levy cap quiz, visit the district's
Tax Levy Cap information page.