SCHOOL FUNDING – TAX FORMULA:
The formula for funding the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District and the tax sharing among its 12 municipalities are strictly governed by New Jersey Education Law. This formula is not determined by the high school district; in New Jersey, Boards of Education have no taxing authority. The State’s philosophy is that each sending district funds its educational capital and operating expenses based on the property wealth of its member municipalities. In the case of North Hunterdon-Voorhees district, the State’s tax formula is based on the combined equalized property values and student enrollment in each of the school district’s 12 municipalities.
How is the tax formula calculated?
The tax formula is based on three factors:
1) The equalized value of taxable property within each municipality in the high school district.
2) The number of elementary school students in each municipality.
3) The number of high school students in each municipality.
Using these three factors, the State’s formula for calculating taxes can be shown as a six-step process:
1) Equalized property values for each municipality are calculated. These equalized property values are generated by the State each year for every New Jersey municipality; they are intended to be the market value of all taxable property within a given municipality, as determined by the State. Municipal governments have no role in the State’s determination of these annual equalized property valuations. *
2) Elementary school enrollment (K-8) for each municipality is established.
3) High school enrollment (9-12) for each municipality is established.
4) The total student enrollment figures for elementary and high school are used to determine the percentage of total students in each municipality.
5) Each municipality’s percentage of the total high school students is multiplied by its State-determined equalized property valuations.
6) Each municipality’s adjusted equalized property valuations, as a percentage of the total adjusted equalized property valuations for all the municipalities, represent its percentage share of the annual regional high school tax levy.
This calculation is made for each budget year, based on current data.
* Please note: Equalized property values, which are determined by the State, are not the same as assessed property values, which are determined by a municipality. Voters often confuse these and incorrectly assume that assessed property values affect the tax allocation process among the municipalities. Assessed property values play NO such role; therefore, a municipality’s reassessment of local property values has no impact on that municipality’s share of regional school tax levies.
Can the tax formula be changed?
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District Board of Education has no ability, on its own, to revise the current regional school tax process. Since 1993, however, State law does permit regional school districts to conduct elections that would allow voters to establish a new tax process (such as one based strictly on each municipality’s enrollment). However, under State law, the voters of each municipality in a regional district must approve such a change, in addition to a general majority vote among all regional school district voters.