What You Are Paying Compared To Other School Districts

One of the statements from a school board member, at the February 11th meeting, was that we can’t look at millage because a mill in Octorara does not generate the same revenue as a mill in West Chester. They must think we are too slow-witted not to understand that many of the districts to our east are wealthier. However, we all must live within our means. We all want things for our families, and ourselves that we just cannot afford. We can’t just walk into our boss’s office and say, “My 2013 budget has increased. Starting Monday, you will give me a raise.”

While we all know that a mill in Octorara does not generate the same tax revenue as wealthier areas, a mill does take the same money from families trying to survive. Therefore, the higher the millage, the less income we have for our families.

How do we compare to other districts? Per $100,000 of assessed value, in the following districts you would pay…

Great Valley: $158.58 added to your mortgage a month, or $1903.00 per year.

West Chester: $155.58 added to your mortgage a month, or $1867.00 per year

Downingtown: $226.52 added to your mortgage a month, or $2718.20 per year

Coatesville: $250.91 added to your mortgage a month, or $3010.90 per year

Twin Valley: $202.5 added to your mortgage a month, or $2430 per year

Chester County residents pay $305.50 per month, ($3666.00 per year) in taxes to the Octorara Area School District, for every $100,000 of assessed value. It is a significantly higher amount than those in other school districts. The school board wants to talk about how much less a mill generate for them in taxes, but their rates take significantly more out of our wallets.

If the current projections of revenue, as stated in the last meeting hold, our taxes will change to 37.59 mills in Chester County, and 28.39 in Lancaster County. (The difference is because of way taxes are assessed in each county). For those living in Chester County, this translates into $313.25 per month for every $100,000 ($3759.00 per year).

Keep in mind, this is not your total property tax burden. You also have your local and county property taxes. A family living in the Borough of Parkesburg is currently paying $423.53 per month in total property taxes ($5082.30 per year). This in not just a homeowner’s problem. Renters, this affects what your landlord charges.

Worst of all, in many nearby communities, the total property tax is less than what we pay to the Octorara Area School District alone. It means a home within Octorara costs more than other places, even when the home has the same value. The school board would argue, even with the higher taxes, Octorara home values make it a bargain to live here. That may be true if your choices are between a $350,000 home in West Chester, Exton or Malvern or a $225,000 home in Parkesburg or Atglen. However, we are a largely rural, working-class community. Their thoughts on this subject do not represent the average homeowner or voter.


3 thoughts on “What You Are Paying Compared To Other School Districts

  1. Mr. Alexander – I guess I am the exception to the rule. I have a home for sale in the borough of Parkesburg, Octorara School District. We listed this property twelve days ago and we have an agreement of sale. TWELVE DAYS! It has been shown three times (twice to the same prospective buyer) and there is another showing on Tuesday. We are very close to our original asking pries but then, we didn’t try to gouge people, only asking what we feel is a fair amount. But the current buyer isn’t what interests me, it is the one we almost got. The single mother with two children one of whom is a special needs child. She is specifically looking for a home within the Octorara District due to their excellent reputation dealing with these kinds of students and with their families.

    • Twelve days is very impressive in Parkeburg. The Q4-2012 report showed the average was 105 days on the market. In fact, the Q4-2012 showed a lot of positive news for Parkeburg. However, there are some issues we are struggling with, like vacancy rate… 50% higher than the Chester County average. I wrote about Parkesburg’s recovering real estate market in ParkesburgToday. It has been an impressive improvement in an area that was arguably harder hit than most of Chester County.

      You are under contract, and still showing the property? Does your agent not believe all the contingencies will be met? The one you almost got interests me too.

      When a mortgage company approves a loan, they approve the total amount and the total monthly budget payment. A person initially qualified for a $175,000 loan (as an example) is approved based on more typical property tax rates. The existing total millage rate of 50.823 can cause some people to then not be approved for a specific property.

    • If you have an agreement of sale, why are you still showing the property? Sounds like a Ken Knickerblocker story in my opinion. If the story is true congrats on the sale, but does that mean your leaving the school district because you can’t afford the taxes, or did you buy another house in the district?

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