Seminole County Public Schools has approved a tax rate for next year that’s a slight drop from the year before.
The board unanimously approved a tax rate of 5.378 mills at its Sept. 5 hearing. That translates to $538 for every $100,000 of a home’s assessed value (which can be much less than the current market value).
SCPS Chief Financial Officer Tim Bargeron said the tax rates, officially called the millage rates, are controlled by the Florida legislature. When the taxable values go up, school boards must lower the tax rate, rather than get an increase in revenue.
“The school board only has the option to lower the tax rates instead of increasing them above what the legislature authorizes,” Bargeron said. “And to do that would put us at a competitive disadvantage to our neighboring districts. Every district I’ve worked with or for has levied the maximum.”
The rate has been declining since at least 2019, where it sat at 6.133 mills. But for the average taxpayer in Seminole County, the overall tax bill would still go up.
That’s because the average taxable value of a house went from about $200,000 in 2022 to nearly $220,000 in 2023. So the average bill per household would have increased by about $90 to $1,181.
No residents spoke about the tax rate at the Sept. 5 hearing, or at its July meeting when the rate was first announced.
“We did have one gentleman who was here before the meeting (tonight),” Bargeron said. “I gave him my number and suggested he call the property appraiser. Because the real underlying issue for him was a significant increase in his taxable value, not the tax rate.”
Overall, SCPS has a budget of more than $1.3 billion dollars for the 2023-24 school year. That includes about $274 million for construction and capital projects.
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