This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Override Fact of the Day: What Will it Cost?

According to Yes! for Beverly, the tax increase resulting from the override would be 41 cents per every $1,000 your home is assessed for. That works out to $46.60 a quarter - or $185 a year – for a home assessed at $450,000. The cost for the average Beverly homeowner would be 51 cents a day.

There is an Override Tax Calculator on the Yes! for Beverly website.

Rather than compare that to the cost of a cup of coffee (or worse yet, a latte), which tends to inflame the opposition, we did our own calculations based on property values. If you believe that there is any correlation between the quality of schools and property values, then these figures should speak pretty clearly.

Taking the average value of a house in Beverly of $450,000, we figure that if housing prices were to fall just 1% (a pretty conservative figure) because of all the negative publicity, increased class sizes, and general uncertainty about the school system, that the average house will be worth $4500 less. That would be enough to pay one household's cost of the override for 24 years.

There are a few exemptions from the tax. Qualified taxpayers over 65 can receive a tax credit from the state for a portion of their property taxes. Qualified taxpayers over age 65 can defer their property taxes until the property is sold. Beverly provides a state mandated real estate property tax exemption of $500 for income and asset limited taxpayers over age 70. Other relief includes a disabled veteran exemption ($250), an exemption for widows over 70, and an exemption for the legally blind.

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