1 attends but doesn’t pay, other pays but doesn’t attend

Two groups of kids, two very different property tax implications.

Group A kids — more than 300 of them — attend Fayette County public schools, but their parents pay no property taxes in Fayette County to support the Fayette system.

Group B kids — more than 2,000 of them — do NOT attend Fayette County public schools and thus make no demands on the system’s resources, but their parents pay the full load of Fayette County property taxes that go to the operation of the local system.

What’s the story behind this seeming disparity?

It has long been a practice of school systems across Georgia to allow employees who live in other school districts to bring their children with them to attend a school in the district where the employee works. A concern from the past dealt with the reality that the out-of-district tax dollars did not follow those children to the Fayette County School System. These are the Group A kids.

But there is more to the story in terms of a much larger sum of money that Fayette schools do receive without having to educate a group of Fayette County children who are home-schooled or attend private schools. These are the Group B kids, and this in-county group dwarfs the Group A numbers.

The issue of Fayette school system employees living outside the county and receiving special permission to bring their child or children to work came up in 2009 and again in 2011 as the Fayette County Board of Education looked at a variety of budget-impacting areas.

The main issue in the conversation centered around the idea that the children of out-of-county employees would bring their state (QBE) dollars to Fayette schools but not the property tax dollars that make up essentially half the total revenue received by the school system.

Not surprisingly, the issue has not surfaced this year since the practice amounts to what is essentially a matter of professional courtesy extended to school system employees across the state who are employed in another system.

Information supplied by the school system showed 348 out-of-county students accompanying their parents and attending Fayette schools this time last year compared to 333 today.

A breakdown of the 333 children attending from out-of-county shows a relatively even distribution, with 157 children in elementary schools, 82 in middle schools and 94 in high schools. As for the schools attended, all schools are represented.

But there is a more to the story. It is one that never surfaces in school board meetings. It is a story of what is essentially free money for the school system.

The Citizen last year looked at the number of children living in Fayette County being home schooled or attending private schools. Spanning a period of several years, the number of children varied between approximately 1,800-2,200, and averaged approximately 2,000 each year — the student population equivalent of one large high school or three smaller elementary schools.

While 333 children are attending Fayette schools from out of county, there are an average of 2,000 children in-county whose parents are paying local property taxes that go straight to the school system without their children being educated by the system and without their system having to expend any resources to educate them.

In a year of school budget shortages, more conversations may take place eventually about Group A children versus Group B kids.

Newsboy
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What's the point of this?

To stir up more trouble for the school system? And on the front page no less? This isn't journalism, it's incoherent tripe. Y'all can do better than this.

Larry Sussberg
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State of The Schools Address - Dr Bearden

On Wednesday morning, October 31, from 7:30-9:00am, our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jeff Bearden, will give a “state of education in Fayette County” talk. This will be held at the Methodist church on Robinson Road, and a small fee is charged because it is a breakfast. I strongly encourage you to attend. Registration is required and the link is shown below.

http://fayettechamber.org/chamber-master/?chambermasterpath=events/detai...

g8trgrl
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students and taxes

How many kids are in apartments without paying property tax? I am guessing hundreds. This article is not very informative at all!

Pogo
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Apartment Taxes

Those that live in apartments pay property taxes indirectly. The apartment complex owner pays property tax and it is included in the rent structure.

g8trgrl
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Apartment students

Even Section 8 ??

Robert W. Morgan
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2,000 students times $4,000 in free money

Pretty soon that will add up to a lot of money. The first thought is that we should be comfortable that our free money coming in more than covers the expense of the 300 or so out of county students (we still get $4,000 from the state for them, don't we?). Then you have to ask about the illegal out of county students,but once again, the free money is more than enough to cover them - we can't possibly have 1700 illegals here can we? Maybe that explains the reluctance to clamp down on the illegals.

But it makes you wonder who actually cares and using Ben's labels (and mine) we have 4 groups of students and parents.

Group A- the employees kids and the illegals
Group B - It makes you wonder why the parents providing the free money don't demand their fair share - meaning a voucher system. I guess they don't want to make too much of all this because if truth be told, a family with 3 kids that are home schooled or private schooled only contribute a very small amount of this free money - probably $1500 per year if they live in a $250,000 house.

Group C- The family with 3 kids in that $250,000 house that actually sends their 3 kids to the Fayette public schools, the actual cost is that same $1500 in property tax - about $500 per kid per year. Sure beats a $20,000 tuition bill from Woodward - $60,000 for all 3 kids.

Group D- So that leaves the rest of us who are paying high taxes with no kids to finance this school system.

Then you look at those 4 groups of people and wonder which will be most vocal about how our school system is being run:

Group A - employees getting a freebie for their kids as a job-related benefit - no, they won't be speaking up. Nor will the illegals
Group B - nope, they don't have kids in the Fayette schools
Group C- Might speak up some, but they know they are getting a pretty good subsidized ride
Group D - Might speak up about the money, but without kids in school, don't care how it is run. On behalf of these people (for I am one) I'd like to thank the person who came up with the idea that the school tax millage rate be capped at a certain level. Without that, we'd be totally off the charts.

2 conclusions here
- any wonder we are in a mess?
- the whole thing is set up like a public radio network - no advertisers, unlimited users, skyrocketing expenses, but a government subsidy.

fayette77
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Group B is interested

As a group B parent, I can assure you I (and others) have a great interest in our BOE being functional and our school system being successful and funded. The quality of public education has a huge bearing on the quality of life in the county and home values. To not have an interest in the school system because we don't participate in it, is foolish. It (along with socio-economics of our county) has a greater effect on all than we might think.

Regarding the voucher, I would love a voucher, but don't fight for it because of the reasons above. If I want lower property taxes, I'd move to a county that can provide that. But I like living in Fayette County and am staying to vote on BOE members, keep up with their shenanigans, tell my uneducated neighbors and make them (BOE) accountable.

Pogo
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Financing Public Education

Do you have a better solution for financing public education? Would you determine the standard cost of educating a student and then send the family a bill for the difference between that and the total of state funding and their property tax? The tax derived from commercial properties would have to be included in the computation. A good public education system benefits everyone directly or indirectly and makes our country stronger. That being said, those that manage the system must be good stewards of our tax dollars.

Robert W. Morgan
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Well yes, Pogo, I do have a better plan - pay for it

meaning every family that has a kid the family wants to educate - have the family pay for it. Not you, not me, not my 90-year old mother. This would cut everyone's tax bill by 80% and you could choose between your smart daughter and your dumb son or vice versa. It would force a lot of home schooling, get the best in the gene pool into private schools and get the thugs out of the hood and into the neighborhoods at an earlier age where they would not have fully developed survival skills and then get picked off early before they could really harm someone - and before they could spawn more of their own type. Girls would be chosen last for education, they would learn that their place is in the home, not out in the world (this would reduce he number of lawyers by 50%) and they would know that their babies only have a 50/50 chance of education. This would result in a male only voting bloc and eventually a property owner's only voting bloc. Since abortion is now legal, you could make choices instead of relying upon the flu and other things to cull the herd.

Ah, the good old days. And I do mean old - 200 years ago. Ahhhhhh!

It may be too late for all that, but why not push in that direction. Go look at the so-called students who are 16 years old, more worried about their TV stars than learning to speak English and tell me that their "education" is worth $8,000 per year. I mean, have you ever, like been to the high school and, like just listened to these little people? And we also pay $8k a year for the skateboard losers as well - until they drop out and start working at the body shop putting Bondo on Cameros. Why do we pander to these losers? Because it is "fair". Geeeeez. I'd rather save the tax money.

Yea I know, you think this is a stupid idea, but consider this - Are you better off today than you were 200 years ago?

Pogo
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200 Years Ago

The average life expectancy in 1812 was around 35. Considering all the factors that effect life expectancy, I can definitely say that I am better off. I believe a number of your suggestions were in force in 1812.

Larry Sussberg
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High taxes

At what age does property taxes drop where households no longer pay for the school system?
And how much does it drop? 50%?

Robert W. Morgan
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Age 65 is the magic number in Fayette County

You can be exempt from all school taxes if you file annually, prove your age and that of your spouse and show a household income of $15,000 or less. The school taxes are about 2/3 of he total tax bill. Not many households qualify because social security income counts toward the $15k and if you have 2 ss receipients, you are usually above the cutoff. That's why you have to be careful buying a home - especially in one of those Bob Adams communities - a $200,000 home will show taxes of $600 and that's great - probably a single or widowed homeowner, but you'll have a $2,000 surprise next year. Realtors try to avoid this subject, using a don't tell if not asked philosophy, so beware.

mudcat
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That's why some of the illegal students live at Grandma's

Perfect scam for Clayton County kids is to rent Grandma an apartment or buy a house and have 5 or 6 of her grandchildren and their friends "live there" or at least get on and off the bus there. Hard for the school system to disprove their address. Saw that happen just down the street for almost 15 years until the house was refinanced (for $250,00) and then foreclosed ($175,000) and is now owned by an investor and has a For Rent ($1200) sign out front and I suspect we will see the same thing start again soon.

moelarrycurly
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Taxes

Democrats stop paying at age 95.

Republicans stop paying at age 65.

Libertarians never pay.

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