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localities, because of a strong belief in the value of public education, desire from time to time to expand the scope of school activity, a process carrying with it increased expense, and therefore offering a field for legislative regulation. In practice, most States have adopted legislation involving both these aspects of control.
More in detail, legislation concerning the levying of required local taxes is either indefinite or definite; that is, some States merely require that local taxes must be levied for the support of schools without specifying any certain rate or amount, while other States do specify a fixed or a minimum rate or amount of tax. On the other hand, the States generally grant considerable latitude to localities by permitting them to increase the rate or amount of taxation for required taxes, or by permitting localities to levy privilege taxes, but at the same time limit such taxes as to their maximum.
UNSPECIFIED, MINIMUM, OR FIXED REQUIREMENTS.
In order to provide an amount of money additional to State appropriations sufficient to maintain schools properly, 40 States require localities to levy taxes for general or specific purposes. In all of the remaining States Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, and West Virginia-local school authorities, usually by sanction of the voters, are permitted to levy local taxes for school support, in addition to the money received from the State taxes and the income from the school fund. Further, in Indiana, such a local tax must be levied if the State tuition fund is insufficient to maintain school for at least six months. In Texas, the State appropriation must be sufficient to maintain schools for at least six months. In West Virginia, no district may receive any appropriation from the State unless it votes to levy a local tax for the support of schools.
The general purpose for which taxes must be levied is the support of schools. The specific purposes are the erection, enlargement, repair, and furnishing of schoolhouses, and the erection of suitable outbuildings therefor, the insurance of school property, the introduction and maintenance of school libraries and free texts, the furnishing of school supplies, the supplementing of the fund for the payment of salaries of teachers, of members of school boards, of attendance officers, and the satisfaction of judgments.
State regulations concerning the levying of required local taxes vary. A State may let the rate or amount of tax to be levied remain unspeci
1 Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
fied, or it may direct that a minimum amount per child of school age, per teacher, per inhabitant, or according to the average daily attendance be raised; that a minimum rate on the total valuation of taxable property be levied; or that the amount of tax be proportionate to the amount of money apportioned to the localities by the State. In addition to these basic requirements, a State may demand that its localities levy a local specified poll tax for general school purposes; or it may require them to levy additional or special taxes of adequate amount when State or local funds, or both, are insufficient to meet school expenses.
UNSPECIFIED RATE OR AMOUNT.
The first of the bases relating to required taxation leaves the rate or amount of tax to be raised by local authorities indefinite, that is, the levying of an annual local tax is required, but the rate or amount of tax is unspecified so far as the minimum is concerned. Eighteen States are included in this group, the taxes levied being either for general or specific purposes.
General purposes.-In Connecticut, the law does not directly state that a town or district tax must be levied, but it does state that schools must be maintained for at least 36 weeks in each year in every town and school district. Further, the law provides that no town shall receive any money from the State treasury for any district unless the school therein has been kept during the term specified. Still further, money appropriated by the State must be used only for teachers' salaries. To comply with the law, therefore, it is necessary for a local tax to be levied. In Kentucky, county boards of education estimate the educational needs of the county, and the county must levy a tax for school purposes. In Massachusetts, towns must raise by taxation the money necessary for the support of schools. In Michigan, boards of education in township school districts must vote the taxes necessary in addition to other school funds for teachers' salaries and for regular school expenses. In Minnesota, school boards in independent districts must provide by tax necessary funds for the conduct of schools and the payment of indebtedness. In unorganized territory, county boards of education must levy a tax for the purpose of providing schools, teachers, transportation and board of pupils, textbooks, apparatus, school supplies, etc. In Mississippi, separate school districts must levy a tax sufficient to pay for fuel and other necessities and must also levy such taxes as may be necessary to insure the maintainance of schools during the minimum term. In Nebraska, legal voters must levy a district tax sufficient to maintain schools for the minimum term. In New Mexico, school boards must estimate for collection the rate of tax necessary for the maintenance of schools. In New York, districts must levy the amount certified by boards of education or school trustees as being necessary for teachers' salaries and contingent expenses. In Ohio, district school boards must fix the rate of taxation necessary for all school purposes after State funds are exhausted. In Oklahoma, county commissioners must levy a county tax sufficient to maintain schools. In Pennsylvania, all taxes required by any school district, in addition to the State appropriation, are to be levied by the board of school directors therein.2 In Rhode Island, although the law does not directly state that towns must levy a local tax, yet it does state that every town must establish and maintain a sufficient number of
1 Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin.
2 In districts of the first class, boards of education must levy a tax of at least 5 mills.
public schools. Further, the law declares that no part of the State appropriation may be received by any town unless it raises by tax for the support of public schools a sum equal to the amount that it may receive from the State treasury for the support of schools. To comply with the law, therefore, it is necessary for local taxes to be levied. In Utah, the board of county commissioners must levy a county tax for the support of schools. In Wisconsin, when a district fails to vote a tax sufficient to maintain schools for the minimum term, the school board must determine the sum necessary and the amount so fixed must be assessed.
Specific purposes.—In Minnesota, in districts containing 10 or more townships, a levy must be made to provide for the salaries and traveling expenses of members of the school board, the amount of salary and expenses varying with the number of schools in such districts. In New Hampshire, selectmen of towns must raise the amount determined upon by the voters for salaries of school boards and truant officers. In New Jersey, school districts must raise and appropriate an amount sufficient to pay for free texts and necessary school supplies. In New York, school boards must make ordinary repairs to schoolhouses and provide suitable outbuildings therefor, and a tax sufficient for these purposes must be levied; school boards must also levy taxes sufficient to insure school buildings and school libraries. In Ohio, when any school building has been condemned as unfit for use, and the county, township, or municipality concerned is without the necessary funds to remedy the defects, a tax must be levied sufficient to produce the sum necessary, within a legal maximum. In Washington, in districts of the first class, county commissioners must levy the amount of funds determined upon by district school boards as being necessary for creating or adding to the permanent insurance fund.
RATE OR AMOUNT ON VALUATION OF TAXABLE PROPERTY.
The second of the basic requirements designates, in terms of a specified sum, or of a specified rate on the valuation of taxable property—that is, of so many cents on the $100 or of so many mills on the dollar-the fixed or the minimum amount of local tax which must be raised for general or specific school purposes. This requirement holds in 15 States, and the details are as follows:
General purposes.—Colorado, county tax, not less than 2 mills. Delaware, district tax, $100 in Kent and New Castle Counties and $60 in Sussex County, assessed on the property of white persons for the support of schools for white children; $50 in Kent and New Castle Counties and $30 in Sussex County, assessed on the property of colored persons for the support of schools for colored children. Florida, county tax, not less than 3 mills. Idaho, county tax, not less than 15 cents. Iowa, county tax, not less than 1 mill. Louisiana, parish tax, not less than 3 mills. Minnesota, county tax, 1 mill. Missouri, district tax, 40 cents. Montana, county tax, 4 mills. Nevada, county tax, not less than 20 cents. North Dakota, county tax, 2 mills. Oregon, district tax, 5 mills, or such rate as will produce an amount sufficient to yield the district the difference between $300 and the amount received from the county school fund. South Carolina, county tax, 3 mills. Vermont, town tax, not less than one-fifth of the grand list. Virginia, county and district tax, not less than 10 cents each (may be less by special order of the State board of education).
Specific purposes.-In North Dakota, a rate sufficient to equalize property, funds on hand, and debts, when the boundaries of school districts are changed.
AMOUNT DETERMINED BY DESIGNATED BASES.
The third requirement, which is operative in 9 States, names the fixed or the minimum amount which must be raised by localities for general or specific purposes per child of school age, per teacher, per
inhabitant, according to the average daily attendance, or proportionate to the amount of money received from the regular State apportionment. In 4 of these States, the minimum tax, as calculated on its basis, must never exceed the maximum tax, as calculated on a property valuation basis.
Per child of school age.—In California the county tax must yield $550 per teacher, less the amount of the State apportionment, provided such a basis yields at least $13 per pupil in average daily attendance in the county; if not, the latter basis holds; in no case, however, may the tax levied exceed the legal maximum. In Oregon the county tax must yield at least $8 per child of school age, but in no case may the amount per child be less than that levied in 1910. Counties having a population of less than 100,000 inhabitants must levy for school libraries not less than 10 cents per child of school age. In Utah the district tax for school libraries must be 15 cents per child of school age. In Washington the county tax must yield at least $10 per child of school age within the legal maximum.
Per teacher.-In California the county tax must yield $550 per teacher, less the amount of the State apportionment, provided such a basis yields at least $13 per pupil in average daily attendance in the county; if not, the latter basis holds; in no case, however, may the tax levied exceed the legal maximum. In Wyoming the county tax must yield $300 per teacher within the legal maximum.
Per inhabitant.-In Maine, towns must raise less than 80 cents per inhabitant. According to average daily attendance.—In Arizona, within the legal maximum the county school levy is estimated by multiplying $35 by the sum representing the average daily attendance of the county during the first 8 months of the previous year; provided that such estimate must be sufficient to secure to every district at least $1,000; and provided further, that such final estimate must be increased by 10 per cent as a reserve fund.
Proportionate to State apportionment.—In New Hampshire the selectmen of each town must levy a sum to be computed at the rate of $750 for every dollar of the public taxes apportioned to such town. In Wisconsin every town or city must raise a sum equal to not less than one-half of the amount received from the income of the State school fund.
POLL OR OCCUPATION TAX.
Aside from these basic requirements, as just considered, 6 States require their localities to levy for general school purposes a local fixed poll or minimum occupation tax.
In Florida the county poll tax is $1, levied upon each male person over the age of 21 years and under the age of 55 years, except such as have lost a limb in battle. In North Dakota and South Dakota the county poll tax is $1, levied upon each elector. In New Mexico the district poll tax is $1, levied upon all able-bodied male persons of the age of 21 years or over. In Wyoming the county poll tax is $2, levied upon each person between the ages of 21 and 50 years, inclusive. In Pennsylvania, in districts of the second, third, and fourth classes, an occupation tax of at least $1 is levied upon each male resident or inhabitant over 21 years of age.
If State or local funds, or both, are insufficient to meet current school expenses, 18 States 1 require the levy of additional or special
1 Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota,Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, 90757°-15-4
taxes of adequate amount. The details of this requirement are as
General purposes.—In Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington a district tax sufficient to maintain schools for the minimum term. In North Carolina a county tax of not less than 1 cent on the $100 of property valuation and not less than 3 cents on the poll in order to maintain schools for the minimum term. In Tennessee a county tax sufficient to maintain schools for the minimum term.
Specific purposes.-In Maryland a county tax sufficient in amount to meet the minimum salary law. In Michigan a township tax of 1 mill to pay teachers' salaries. In North Dakota, in independent school districts, sufficient to pay teachers' salaries and contingent expenses. In New Jersey, when townships elect to act under legislation pertaining to city school districts, a township tax equal to the amount of money determined upon by the board of school estimate for the purchase of sites, or for erecting, enlarging, repairing, and furnishing a schoolhouse or schoolhouses. Also in all districts a tax sufficient to provide two suitable outbuildings for each schoolhouse. In New York, where no tax for building a needed schoolhouse has been voted by the legal voters, a district tax in accordance with an estimate submitted by the district superintendent, which estimate may not be diminished by more than 25 per cent. In Wisconsin a town or district tax sufficient to provide proper outbuildings. In New Jersey, Oklahoma, North Dakota (within the legal maximum), South Dakota (within the legal maximum), Utah, and Wisconsin a district tax sufficient to satisfy judgments. In Minnesota a district tax sufficient to satisfy judgments, with interest. In Vermont a district tax sufficient to pay judgments and the charges and 12 per cent interest thereon.