Front Page History: Danville school taxes were more than twice as high in 1950

Published 6:26 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

You think your taxes are high now? On this day in 1950, a headline blasted across the entire top of front page of The Advocate-Messenger told readers that Danville voters had just passed a new building tax levy by a 309-vote majority.

According to the the story, a total of 1,203 voted in favor of the additional school tax, while 894 opposed it. By winning the tax increase vote, it cleared the way for the City Board of Education to make needed improvements to Danville schools.

Under the new program, the tax levy in school districts was raised from $1.50 per $100 valuation of property to $2 per $100.

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Danville’s current school property tax rate is 94.6 cents per $100 of valuation of property, meaning someone with a $100,000 home will pay $946 this year. If the 1950 tax rate remained at $2 per $100 today, the same homeowner would be paying $2,000 in property taxes this year.

In 1950, with the additional expected revenue coming in, the city of Danville planned to sell bonds for the Board of Education to obtain the necessary money for building a new grade school on the Farris property on East Main Street, which is now known as the former Jennie Rogers Elementary School, replacing the obsolete Broadway School entirely; build additions to the overcrowded Bate School and Maple Avenue School; and possibly improve conditions at Danville High School.

Raising the tax was just about the only way that Danville could improve its school facilities.

Voter interest was so keen in the general election that the city polling places were barely able to accommodate the unusually large number of voters who turned out.

The school tax votes closely approached and frequently topped the votes cast in the city precincts for the U.S. senatorial candidates.

The story said the large margin of voters agreeing to pay the higher tax rate was an indication that Danville residents were “fully aware of the present and future needs of education and proper school buildings and other facilities, were willing to vote a new and additional tax in the face of present-day high income taxes and high costs of living.”