Brookline trying to off load their co-op school taxes to Hollis

To The Editor:

Due to its rapid growth, Brookline’s percentage of students attending the Hollis Brookline Cooperative School District for both middle school and high school dramatically increased, and as a result, so has their co-op school taxes.

Brookline’s solution to this is to shift their share of these taxes to Hollis by changing the co-op apportionment formula from one based on student loading called 100 percent ADM (average daily membership) to one that also includes equalized real estate valuation (EV). This new formulation is called 50/50 percent ADM/EV. The EV is a “fudge factor” designed shift the co-op tax burden to Hollis because Hollis has a higher real estate valuation than Brookline if only because Hollis is a larger town in terms of land mass.

The net effect of this is that Hollis taxes will dramatically increase, because Hollis would now be subsidizing Brookline approximately $4,500 per student. This is a specious concept, as well as a non sequitur, in that EV does not drive school cost: rather student loading does.

The current 100 percent ADM formula has been in effect since 2007, when Hollis finally remedied 20 years of Brookline exploitation, whereby currently only the number of students that each town sends to the co-op determines the apportionment of costs back to each town. Over the previous 20 years, the apportionment formula has evolved as follows: 50/50, 60/40, 75/25 and 100 percent ADM/EV.

If the prospect of a drastic tax increase worries you, I urge all Hollis residents to attend the Monday, March 3 co-op district meeting at 7 p.m. at Hollis Brookline High School, and vote no to Article 15 of the Warrant.

The whole list of Warrant Articles is on the co-op website at www.sau41.org/hbcsd-annual-meeting.

HANK CIOFRONE

Hollis