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Yuma Elementary School District One
ONE Community Pursuing Excellence

Property Tax Facts

Yuma School District One (District One), in partnership with other local districts and county administrators, is taking a proactive approach to communicate property tax information to the public. For more information about how to calculate your taxes, please refer to the Yuma County Property Tax Process pamphlet. You can also contact the District Office directly at (928) 502-4300. 

While the median sale price for homes in Yuma County is on the rise, there is a two-year lag between current market conditions and the application of these conditions to the net assessed value of real property. Due to real property values dropping again this year, homeowners will see an increase in next year's property tax rates in order to maintain tax levies at the same level as the current tax year. Below is a list of frequently asked questions that will explain why this increase took place.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is “assessed valuation,” and how does it relate to my taxes and the district’s budget?

Each year, the Yuma County Assessor’s Office determines the value of all property within the county, including city buildings and individual homes. These assessment values are then used as a basis for levying property taxes. The assessment values are used by the district to calculate the district’s funding formula and state equalization assistance each budget year.

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How is Full Cash or Market Value valuation determined, and why does it change?

The assessor's office studies the market and collects information about properties to estimate value. A property's value can change for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property itself changes. A bedroom, garage or swimming pool is added, or part of the property is destroyed by demolition, wind, flood, or fire.

The most frequent cause of a change in valuation is change in the market or economy. If a certain neighborhood or community becomes a fashionable place to live, the change in valuation will be reflected by the prices paid for property. In a stable neighborhood, with no extraordinary pressure from the market, simple inflation may increase property value. Your property assessment also contains a "Limited Value." This is an amount that is calculated annually based upon a formula. The formula is very complex and cannot be fully explained here. One of the features of calculating a "Limited Value" is that no matter what the formula yields, it may not exceed the Full Cash Value.

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How did the net assessed valuation for Yuma School District One for this current year compare to the new valuation?

Net Accessed New FY2016 Current FY2015 Difference 2016 & 2015 Previous FY2014 Difference 2014 & 2015
Primary Net Assessed $694,113,712 $704,030,755 $-9,917,043 $734,152,500 -$30,121,745
Secondary Net Assessed $720,578,754 $721,723,425 -$1,144,671 $749,868,697 -$28,145,272
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Why did my property tax rate go up?

  • Assessed valuation of properties in Yuma County decreased. To maintain the current levy, less valuation of properties requires the county to charge a higher tax rate in order to maintain the same tax levy. The debt cannot be spread over as many dollars or taxpayers. The same amount of debt is spread over a smaller amount of valuation.
  • In order to control the cost of state aid, the Arizona legislature increased the Qualifying Tax Rate (QTR) used in the district’s funding formula to determine the amount of equalization assistance the state provides each school district. This increase balances the state budget but passes the cost of education to the local taxpayers.
  • Other factors could also have caused a tax rate increase. For example, if the full tax levy is not collected in one year because some taxpayers do not pay their taxes, then the rate may have to be increased the next year to offset this loss. When the back taxes are eventually recovered, the rate can be lowered the following year.
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What do the different line items on my property tax bill mean?

  • The first Yuma School District One line on your property tax bill is Operations and Maintenance, which appears as Primary O&M on your tax bill. O&M includes salaries for all employees and supplies.
  • District One also has another line on your property tax bill for Secondary. This item represents the Class A Bonds that were approved by the voters and must be paid back over a specific period of time.
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Why are there two lines on some people’s bills for District One’s Primary tax rates?

  • The first line is the amount that needs to be generated before any equalization payments are applied.
  • The second line is the equalization payment, which is supposed to equalize the whole state. The second line may show on the tax bill as a credit or reduction of the property bill.
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How does District One compare to other school districts in spending per pupil?

The district is very frugal with taxpayer funds and strives to keep property taxes down. Due to school funding cuts in Arizona, our district decreased budget capacity since 2009. In 2014, District One spent $7,098 per pupil. This is $316 less than comparable districts, $480 less than the state average, and $3,569 less than the national average.

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Why do the different school districts have different tax rates?

  • Schools have different boundaries and different assessed valuations of their taxpayer properties. This difference affects the school district tax rate. Please visit Our Schools page to view Yuma County school district boundaries.
  • Each school district has a different history of voter initiatives that have been approved in the past to meet their specific district needs within the state budget limits. District One does not have an override or career ladder program and is not levying anything for Adjacent Ways, all of which would result in higher property taxes.
  • Charter schools are not taxing authorities, so their funding comes directly from the state general fund.

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What are the YSD1 Property Tax Rates this year compared to past years?

Current FY2016 Previous FY2015 Previous FY2014 Previous FY2013 Previous FY2012
Primary O&M 2.1393 2.2689 2.0995 1.666 1.7073
Cap Outlay 0.1863 0.1301 0.2278 0.2645 0.1397
Soft Cap 0.072 0 0 0 0.0118
Adj Ways 0 0 0 0 0
Total Primary Rate 2.3976 2.399 2.3273 1.9305 1.8588
Secondary Tax Rate-Class A Bond 0.1403 0 0.4164 0.3675 0.3448
Total Tax Rate 2.5379 2.399 2.7437 2.298 2.2036

*Rates do not reflect 40% Homeowners Rebate

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How and when are the tax rates calculated?

  • The ADM is determined by the 100th day calculations for the previous school year. The 100th day is at the end of January, but the state does not finalize the number until September.
  • The Arizona legislature passes the budget anywhere between April and the end of June. This budget determines the per pupil formula on which the school district budget is set.
  • The Yuma County assessor determines the assessed valuation of all properties in the school district. If the assessed valuation goes down from the previous year, the tax rate goes up to make up for the reduction in valuation. The school districts are only allowed to carry over a small percentage of funds from the previous year. If there is more than a 4% carryover, the extra funds are returned to the state treasury.
  • The county receives information about the state-allocated funds for the new fiscal year, subtracts any remaining balance (carryover) from the previous year, and determines the amount of taxes that need to be generated for the school district based on the budget limit set by the state. This is generally completed by mid-August and the tax rates are submitted to the county supervisors for approval.
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What does Yuma School District One control about the tax rate?

  • The district has the authority to raise its primary property taxes to generate funds in Adjacent Ways. District One has not levied funds for Adjacent Ways for several years to keep property taxes down. In FY2016, much needed improvements for pedestrian and vehicular safety require the district to levy Adjacent Ways to make safety improvements.
  • Each year the budget adoption process mandates that it be complete by July 15, before the tax rates are set, and the valuations and other variables are completed and known. The district practices sound fiscal policies in order to achieve a 4% carryover, the maximum allowed by law. The district exercises sound fiscal practices to limit increases to property tax rates.
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What is out of Yuma School District One’s control about the tax rate?

  • The district has no control over the assessment of valuation of property in the district’s boundaries.
  • The district has no control over the actions of the state legislature, including their ability to increase the Qualifying Tax Rate (QTR) or to pass the costs of education, including deferred payments, to local property owners.
  • The district has no control over the per pupil funding formula for Operations and Maintenance, Capital Outlay and Soft Capital, and the amount that the legislature determines for  school district budgets based on the formula.
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