How high could your property taxes go up? Districts receive new state caps

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch
School logo

The state Department of Education recently assigned 2018-19 tax caps to school districts, and all but three of York County's 16 districts have limits of more than 3 percent.

However, the adjusted indexes are lower than numbers assigned last year for all districts except the York Suburban School District, which saw an increase over this school year's 2.5 percent limit. 

According to the Department of Education, annual caps are reached by averaging the increases in the average weekly wage across the state and the federal employment cost index for elementary and secondary schools, which measures the cost of employing school personnel. 

When these costs increase, so does the tax cap for each district. 

For 2018-19, York Suburban, West Shore and Southern York County have the lowest caps in York County, at 2.8 percent, 2.8 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

All other districts were given caps of more than 3 percent. The York City School District has the most leeway, with a 3.9 percent limit, though the district has managed to not raise taxes for the past five budgets.

For the current fiscal year, six school districts in York County did not raise taxes.

While most districts avoid hitting their state-assigned cap, West York Area School District and Dallastown Area School District each raised property taxes to the max for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

More:Dallastown district raises taxes to limit

More:'When is enough enough?': West York district approves max tax hike

More:Eastern district raises taxes, depletes fund balance

Only one school district exceeded its assigned rate: Eastern York. The school district applied for an exemption last year, which the Department of Education approved.

It allowed Eastern York’s board to raise taxes by as much as 6.29 percent for the 2017-18 fiscal year, though the board ended up passing a budget with a 3.7 percent property-tax increase.

A district may apply for an exception to raise taxes beyond its cap for reasons including school construction, special education expenditures, retirement contribution obligations and more.

Otherwise, a district would need to gain approval from a majority of district residents by referendum to exceed the state-assigned limit.

If a district intends to seek an exception, it must make the request to the Department of Education by March 1.

A list of York County school districts and their corresponding maximum cap for the 2017-18 is below. Districts that did not raise taxes for the 2017-18 fiscal year are marked with an asterisk:

  • Central York School District:  3.0 percent
  • Dallastown Area School District:  3.0 percent
  • *Dover Area School District:  3.2 percent
  • Eastern York School District:  3.1 percent
  • Hanover Public School District:  3.1 percent
  • *Northeastern York School District:  3.2 percent
  • *Northern York County School District:  3.0 percent
  • *Red Lion Area School District:  3.2 percent
  • *South Eastern School District:  3.0 percent
  • South Western School District:  3.0 percent
  • Southern York County School District:  2.9 percent
  • Spring Grove Area School District:  3.0 percent
  • West Shore School District:  2.8 percent
  • West York Area School District:  3.1 percent
  • *York City School District:  3.9 percent
  • York Suburban School District: 2.8 percent