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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.327

Introduced by Senator Hartwell of Bennington District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Taxation; education finance

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to repeal the annual adjustment of education property tax rates; expand the housesite acreage under the property tax adjustment program from two acres to ten acres; change the method for annual determination of the per-pupil base spending amount; begin the process of transferring the cost of federal mandates relating to special education and the No Child Left Behind act from local budgets to the state; and replace the divided vote provisions enacted in 2007 with caps on education spending, which would require a supermajority to override.

AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION FINANCE AMENDMENTS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

* * * Annual Adjustment of Education Property Tax Rates * * *

Sec. 1.  32 V.S.A. § 5402(a) is amended to read:

(a)  A statewide education tax is imposed on all nonresidential and homestead property at the following rates:

(1)  the tax rate for nonresidential property shall be $1.59 $1.36 per $100.00; and

(2)  the tax rate for homestead property shall be $1.10 $0.87 multiplied by the district spending adjustment for the municipality, per $100.00, of equalized education property value as most recently determined under section 5405 of this title.  The homestead property tax rate for each municipality which is a member of a union or unified union school district shall be calculated as required under subsection (e) of this section.

Sec. 2.  REPEAL

     32 V.S.A. § 5402b (automatic annual adjustment of education property tax rates) is repealed, effective January 1, 2008.

* * * Per-Pupil Base Spending Amount * * *

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 4011(b) is amended to read:

(b)  For each fiscal year, the base education payment shall be $6,800.00, increased by the most recent New England Economic Project cumulative price index, as of November 15, for state and local government purchases of goods and services from fiscal year 2005 through the fiscal year, for which the payment is being determined, plus an additional one-tenth of one percent

                                                                                                                 .


* * * Mandates * * *

Sec. 4.  MANDATES; NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND; SPECIAL EDUCATION

(a)  The commissioner of education shall identify all state and federal actions necessary for the department to become and to carry out the responsibilities of a local education agency, as that term is defined in 20 U.S.C. § 7801(26), for purposes of:

(1)  The receipt and distribution of federal funds, development of individualized education plans, and performance of all other duties required under 20 U.S.C. § 1401 et seq., known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended.

(2)  The receipt and distribution of federal funds made available to the state under the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, as amended.

(3)  The determination of pupil performance, application of consequences for failure to meet standards, and provision of compensatory and remedial services pursuant to 20 U.S.C. §§ 6311–6318.

(b)  On or before January 15, 2009, the commissioner shall report to the senate and house committees on education, the senate committee on health and welfare, and the house committee on human services regarding the results of the work required in subsection (a) of this section.  The commissioner shall provide the committees with a comprehensive outline, including a detailed time line, of the process by which the department shall become the local education agency.  The outline shall also identify changes requiring federal consent and amendments to state statute and shall address personnel and funding requirements.

* * * Education Spending Caps; Supermajority; Divided Vote * * *

Sec. 5.  16 V.S.A. § 562a is added to read:

§ 562a.  SCHOOL BUDGET; SUPERMAJORITY

Authorization for school spending pursuant to subdivision 562(8) of this title or a municipal charter shall require approval by at least 60 percent of those voting if the proposed amount of spending exceeds 104 percent of the prior year authorization, and the proposed education spending per equalized pupil exceeds 104 percent of the education spending per equalized pupil of the prior year.

Sec. 6.  16 V.S.A. § 562a is amended to read:

§ 562a.  SCHOOL BUDGET; SUPERMAJORITY

Authorization for school spending pursuant to subdivision 562(8) of this title or a municipal charter shall require approval by at least 60 percent of those voting if the proposed amount of spending exceeds 104 103.5 percent of the prior year authorization, and the proposed education spending per equalized pupil exceeds 104 103.5 percent of the education spending per equalized pupil of the prior year.

Sec. 7.  REPEAL

Section 562a of Title 16 (supermajority vote requirement) is repealed January 1, 2014, effective for budgets for fiscal year 2015 and after.                                                                      

Sec. 8.  16 V.S.A. § 563 is amended to read:

§ 563.  POWERS OF SCHOOL BOARDS; FORM OF VOTE IF BUDGET EXCEEDS BENCHMARK AND DISTRICT SPENDING IS ABOVE AVERAGE

The school board of a school district, in addition to other duties and authority specifically assigned by law:

* * *

(11)(A)  Shall prepare and distribute annually a proposed budget for the next school year according to such major categories as may from time to time be prescribed by the commissioner. 

(B)  If the proposed budget contains education spending in excess of the Maximum Inflation Amount, and the district’s education spending per equalized pupil in the fiscal year preceding the year for which the budget is proposed was in excess of the statewide average district education spending per equalized pupil in that same fiscal year, as determined by the commissioner of education, then in lieu of any other statutory or charter form of budget adoption or budget vote, the board shall present the budget to the voters by means of a divided question, in the form of vote provided in subdivision (ii) of this subsection.

(i)  “Maximum Inflation Amount” in this section means:

(I)  the statewide average district education spending per equalized pupil, as defined in subdivision 4001(6) of this title, in the fiscal year preceding the year for which the budget is proposed, as determined by the commissioner of education, multiplied by the New England Economic Project Cumulative Price Index percentage change, as of November 15 preceding distribution of the proposed budget, for state and local government purchases of goods and services for the fiscal year for which the budget is proposed, plus one percentage point; plus the district’s education spending per equalized pupil in the fiscal year preceding the year for which the budget is proposed, as determined by the commissioner of education;

(II)  multiplied by the higher of the following amounts as determined by the commissioner of education:

(aa)  the district’s equalized pupil count in the fiscal year preceding the year for which the budget is proposed; or

(bb)  the district’s equalized pupil count in the fiscal year for which the budget is proposed.

(ii)  Form of vote.

“School Budget Question #1:

Shall the voters of the         School District approve a total budget in the amount of [$                 ], which includes the Maximum Inflation      Amount of education spending?

“School Budget Question #2:

If Question #1 is approved, shall the voters of the School District also approve additional education spending of [$      ]?”

(C)(B)  At a school district’s annual meeting, the electorate may vote to provide notice of availability of the school budget required by this subdivision to the electorate in lieu of distributing the budget.  If the electorate of the school district votes to provide notice of availability, it must specify how notice of availability shall be given, and such notice of availability shall be provided to the electorate at least 30 days before the district’s annual meeting. The proposed budget shall be prepared and distributed at least ten days before a sum of money is voted on by the electorate.  Any proposed budget shall show the following information in a format prescribed by the commissioner of education:

(i)  all revenues from all sources and expenses, including as separate items any assessment for a union school district or a supervisory union of which it is a member, and any tuition to be paid to a technical center;

(ii)  the specific amount of any deficit incurred in the most recently closed fiscal year and how the deficit was or will be remedied;

(iii)  the anticipated homestead tax rate and the percentage of household income used to determine income sensitivity in the district as a result of passage of the budget; including those portions of the tax rate attributable to the union school and supervisory union assessments; and

(iv)  in the case of a school district:

(I)  other than a union school district, the definition of “education spending,” the number of pupils and number of equalized pupils in the school district, and the district’s education spending per equalized pupil in the proposed budget and in each of the prior three years; or

(II)  in the case of a union school district, the amount of the assessment to each of the member districts and the amount of the assessments per equalized pupil in the proposed budget and for the past three years.

* * *

Sec. 9.  REPEAL

Sec. 6 of No. 82 of the Acts of 2007 (effective date for requiring a divided question when voting for school budgets that exceed the Maximum Inflation Amount) is repealed.


Sec. 10.  32 V.S.A. § 6061(11) is amended to read:

(11)  “Housesite” means that portion of a homestead, as defined under subdivision 5401(7) of this title but not under subdivision 5401(7)(G), which includes as much of the land owned by the claimant surrounding the dwelling as is reasonably necessary for use of the dwelling as a home, but in no event more than two 10 acres per dwelling unit; and in the case of multiple dwelling units, no more than two acres per dwelling unit up to a maximum of 10 acres per parcel.

Sec. 11.  EFFECTIVE DATES

This act shall take effect upon passage, except as follows:

(1)  Sec. 1 (education property tax rates) shall apply to property taxes in fiscal years 2009 and after.

(2)  Sec. 5 (school budget limit of 104 percent; supermajority vote) shall take effect upon passage but shall affect budgets for fiscal year 2010 only.

(3)  Sec. 6 (school budget limit of 103.5 percent; supermajority vote) shall take effect January 1, 2010, and shall affect budgets for fiscal years 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

(4)  Sec. 10 (housesite maximum acreage expanded from two acres to ten acres) shall apply to claims filed in 2009 and after.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us