Property Taxes

Property Taxes

Property Tax Facts

Crane Elementary School District No. 13 (CESD) 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, click the links to find a Yuma County Administration Press Release and a graphic pamphlet on the Yuma County Property Tax Process. You can also contact the District Office directly at (928) 373-3400, or send an email to info@craneschools.org.

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.

It is important to note that even though the tax rate may increase, the liability, or the amount of taxes that are to be paid, may not increase. Alternatively, should the tax rate decrease, this does not automatically mean that the tax liability will also decrease. Each constituent is different, and individual variables are considered when the tax bills are processed.

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 commercial buildings and individual residential 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.


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.


How did the net assessed valuation for Crane Elementary School District No. 13 for the previous years compare to the valuation of the new year?

The chart below can best illustrate this.


Why did my property tax rate increase?

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 for subsequent years.


What do the different line items on my property tax bill mean?

The first Crane Elementary School District No. 13 line on your property tax bill is Operations and Maintenance, which appears as 'CRANE ELEM PRIMARY O&M' on your tax bill. The O&M includes salaries and benefits for all employees as well as the district supplies. Also included within the Primary levy type is the Capital Outlay for the District. Capital Outlay is used to purchase capital equipment such as computers, textbooks, school buses and furniture and equipment. This is listed as 'CRANE ELEM PRIMARY CAP OUTLAY'.

Crane Schools also has other lines on your property tax bill listed within the Secondary levy type. These items represent the Class A Bonds and Class B Bonds that were approved by the voters and must be paid back over a specific period of time. You will see them listed as 'CRANE ELEMENTARY SECONDARY', with 'Bond-A' (for the Class A Bonds) and 'Bond-B' (for the Class B Bonds) listed under the 'Purpose' heading of the tax bill.


Why are there two lines on some individual's bills for Crane Elementary School District No. 13'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.


How does Crane Elementary School District No. 13 compare to other school districts in spending per pupil?

Crane Schools' works to ensure that the tax rates stay fairly flat, and have been successful since fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. However, the district continues to be very fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds and strives to keep property taxes down. Since 2009 the district has decreased its budget, in part due to the Legislative Reductions, by more than 9.5%, equating to almost $3.1 million dollars. Due to this decrease, the district spends less money than other school districts of equivalent size and demographics. In Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2012, Crane Schools spent $6,188 per pupil. This is $780 per pupil less than comparable districts, $1,287 per pupil less than the state average and $4,464 per pupil less than the national average. It is worth noting that some of our comparison districts do attend 200 days of instruction, and/or also have voter approved override initiatives.


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. Click this map to view the Yuma County School District Boundaries. Please be patient as this file may take a few moments to load.

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. Crane Schools does not have an override 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.


What are Crane Elementary School District's Property Tax Rates for this current year compared to previous years?

Please refer to the chart below:

How and when are the tax rates calculated?

The Average Daily Membership (ADM) is determined by the 100th day calculations for the previous school year. The 100th day is usual near the of January or the very start of February, but the state does not finalize the number until September.

The Arizona Legislature passes their budget anywhere between April and the end of June. Their 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 they have more than 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 (the third Monday in August) and the tax rates are submitted to the County Supervisors for approval.


What does Crane Elementary School District No. 13 control about the tax rate?

The District has the authority to raise its primary property taxes to generate funds in Adjacent Ways. As it has been done for the past number of years, the District does not levy for Adjacent Ways, which helps to keep the Primary tax rate down.

Each year the Budget Adoption process is mandated to be completed 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. Sound fiscal practices are exercised to limit increases to property tax rates.


What is out of Crane Elementary School District No. 13'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 the amount that the legislature determines for school district budgets based on the formula.

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