Harlan Independent School Board lowers property tax rate

Published 4:30 pm Monday, August 21, 2023

For the second consecutive year, residents of the Harlan Independent School District will see a decline in property taxes on behalf of the school district. Board members unanimously agreed to lower property taxes during the August meeting from 52.8 cents to the new lower rate of 52.1 cents per every $100 assessed value. The new rate is projected to be among the lowest in the commonwealth for school districts.

Superintendent C.D. Morton reminded the board members that Harlan Independent already had some of the lowest rates among school districts and was pleased to be able to recommend lowering them again. Noting the strong student enrollment for the 2023-2024 academic year and ending the fiscal year very strong were contributing factors in the decision to lower rates for residents.

“As a result of increased property values across the entire county, including the Harlan Independent School District, we are in a position to lower rates once again,” Morton said. “We ended the year very strong financially and our enrollment is really strong again this year.”

After hearing a briefing from Morton, who shared tax data, the board unanimously voted in favor or lowering property rates for its residents.

“This is great news for the community and residents,” said board member Debbie Howard. “We have a really strong school system and to be able to do the wide range of facility improvements we have done over the last couple of years while achieving so well academically and lowering tax rates, it is a win-win for the whole community. A great testament to the leadership and entire school community.”

Morton shared that the average independent school district tax rate for 2022 was 80.85¢ while Harlan Independent well below the average at 52.8¢ in 2021.

“It takes an investment on behalf of the whole community to have strong a school system,” board vice chairman Will Miller commented. “I believe the results of our students speak for themselves and these investments will pay dividends down the road that will make us all very proud, it is a remarkable return on investment for our community. Everyone benefits when our schools do well.”