Unfair tax treatment
To The Editor:
I own property in Halcottsville. As such, although a Middletown resident, the property I own is in the Roxbury Central School District and accordingly subject to Roxbury school tax.
I received a proposed Roxbury Central School Budget Information Brochure for the 2013-’14 budget year. The budget totals $10 million. Based on a New York Times article, the Roxbury Central School student population in June of 2012 was 324 students. That works out to a cost of approximately $31,000 per student.
A search of private schools in the Lower Hudson Valley region shows annual tuition amounts ranging from as low as $12,600 (Kindergarten at Woodstock Day School) to $23,200 (Grades 11 and 12 at Poughkeepsie Day School). The tuition amounts charged by private schools in the area are less by more than half to almost one third of that of the cost of education in Roxbury.
It boggles the mind to understand why we are sustaining an institution that does not compete on a financial basis with other comparable schools. There is no logic to requiring taxpayers to support an unsustainable endeavor. As the student population continues to dwindle, the tax burden continues to increase. An argument could be made that with state aid amounting to approximately $3 million, the cost per student funded by taxpayers is reduced to $24,000. That argument makes no sense as the state money could be better used.
Compounding an already bizarre scenario, we in Halcottsville are recipients of unfair Roxbury property tax assessments based on the uneven treatment we receive as compared to Roxbury property owners who have held title for many years. Longtime owners of Roxbury properties are taxed based on what they paid for their properties many years ago. In Halcottsville, properties are treated as having just been purchased. We are part of Middletown and all Middletown properties have been reassessed by the Town of Middletown to market value. Accordingly, Halcottsville property owners pay a disproportionate share of the Roxbury School cost despite the application of an equalization rate the computation of which is flawed
There are three resolutions to create sanity out of chaos. One, merge the Roxbury school with Margaretville and vacate the school building in Roxbury. Two, enroll Roxbury students in significantly less expensive private schools at taxpayer cost or, three, from our point of view in Halcottsville, remove Halcottsville from the Roxbury School District.