A new state law to limit the number of exceptions a school district can use to raise property taxes above its cap is starting to show its teeth.
The law, which kicks in for next year's district budgets, was sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover.
Districts now have only three exceptions they can apply for to raise additional tax revenue, compared to 10 in previous years.
And, according to state figures released this week, the change resulted in fewer districts being approved for restrictions.
The state approved 197 districts for exceptions next year, including six York County school districts. That's compared to 228 this year.
The exceptions are for uncontrollable costs and have been a way for districts to cope with year-to-year budget variations beyond what their annual tax cap allows, such as a sudden spike in special-education costs.
Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said the new law directly affected the number of approved exceptions. The state approves or denies exceptions based on meeting established guidelines.
The districts: York City School District got approval for $4 million in additional tax revenue beyond its 2.7 percent tax cap.
That could mean an additional 12.3 percent tax increase, or 4.48 mills, for city residents. For a $50,000 homeowner, it's about $224 that
could be added on to a property tax bill above what the cap allows.
Central York, Red Lion, South Western, Spring Grove and West Shore also got approval for exceptions.
In Red Lion's case, it could add on 1.1 mills, or 4.5 percent, in additional taxes, if the board decides to use it.
Exceptions not needed: Slightly more districts statewide, at 274, decided not to seek exceptions at all compared to this year's budget preparation.
But Eller said that some districts apply for exceptions just for the sake of having the option should it be needed. Red Lion, for instance, often applies for exceptions but doesn't use them all.
According to state data, about 100 exceptions -- nearly $100 million in potential taxes -- were left untapped this year because districts decided not to use all of their available exceptions.
Each district will have until June to decide whether to use the exceptions when they vote on a final budget.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or ashaw@yorkdis patch.com, or on Twitter @ydb logwork