The School District of Philadelphia doesn’t think it’s getting its fair share of property tax revenue. And it intends to do something about it.
The district announced Tuesday it will hire an outside firm to track down city properties whose assessed value is at least $1 million below what it ought to be. The yet-to-be-named firm will also help the district file formal appeals for properties it believes the city has undervalued.
It is not yet known how much the district will pay for these services and the district will not estimate how much it thinks it can make based on this pilot project.
The school district receives a little under $700 million annually from local property taxes--about 27 percent of its general fund revenues--and under-assessed properties harm district finances. If a city property is undervalued by $1 million it costs Philadelphia schools at least $7,500, according to the district.
"Our goal is to ensure all taxpayers and properties are fairly assessed and taxed so taxpayers across the city are equitably providing funding for the School District. This 3-year pilot program will assess the degree to which certain properties might be undervalued across the city of Philadelphia," said Uri Monson, the district's chief financial officer, in a statement.