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My wife and I bought a house this year. We live just outside of my cities municipal school zone. We don't have any kids so we didn't think much of looking into the school zone maps when we moved.

However, this election we had a ballot measure about the school getting a very large bond. To pay for it, they announced they would raise the levy for schools on property.

My wife and I didn't like the reasons for why they wanted the bond so we were eager to vote no. However, we didn't see the measure on our choices when we voted.

We later looked up the school zone map and found we were just outside of it. From that, we concluded that we must not have been able to vote on the matter because we don't live in the zone. One would then reasonably believe that we don't pay specific property taxes that go towards the school district.. wrong answer.

We got a property tax assessment in the mail today from our county clerk. There is a line item specifically showing the amount that we pay that goes towards the school district. Not only are we paying for the local school, but we didn't get to vote on it while others did. Obviously the bond passed as pretty much all of them do. So now we have to pay more in taxes.

Am I missing something or is this the very definition of taxation without representation?

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    Which state? I doubt it's legal. – user6726 Nov 16 '18 at 6:08
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    @user6726 We live in Kansas – Dakotabartell Nov 16 '18 at 6:16
  • Sounds like taxation without representation to me. Unconstitutional probably. There might be a mixup with the voting administrators. Ask them. – mark b Nov 16 '18 at 16:31
  • Ok, we found out the answer to the problem. We are being taxed on a school district that is over 20 miles away from our home. Even though we are much much closer to the towns school district we are not in it. Luckily the taxes for the school zone we are in are actually lower. However the school zone map of the town I’m in looks absolutely insane. – Dakotabartell Nov 16 '18 at 21:17
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People make mistakes. My assessments come with information on how to dispute them, and if yours don't you should be able to get that information.

File a dispute or whatever it is you do to challenge the assessment. Include the information about you being outside the district and not having he measure on your ballot. If you're just outside the district, you might have been mistakenly included.

You'll either get a revised assessment or you'll be told that you have to pay the tax. You don't have a reasonable complaint unless and until your challenge is denied.

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My initial thought is that I assume this other school district's schools are actually the closest schools to you and your district has some sort of agreement that children in your area attend that school. The flip side is that you are not actually eligible to vote in that district and are subject to the whims of the voters there.

Since you are new to the area, it would be worth talking to other neighbors about this (assuming you aren't in a new development) before writing to the county about this.

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Under the Due Process clause of the US Constitution, the government may take your property only as authorized by law, and art 11 §5 of the Kansas constitution ("No tax shall be levied except in pursuance of a law, which shall distinctly state the object of the same; to which object only such tax shall be applied"). The difficult part to determine is whether there is such authorization in this case. Kansas is broadly authorized to levy taxes (chapter 79), and school districts are authorized under ch. 25 art. 20 to hold elections which includes question submitted elections i.e. bond elections. KSA 72-5457 states the requirements for seeking a tax increase for some purpose:

the board may submit to the electors of the unified district the question of issuing general obligation bonds for one or more of the above purposes, and upon the affirmative vote of the majority of those voting thereon, the board shall be authorized to issue the bonds.

If we interpret your situation as an error rather than a plan to impose a tax without allowing a vote, the error might have been in the office of elections not correctly determining what school district you are an elector of. The other possible source of error could be that the tax assessor incorrectly assigned you to that school district. A third possible error is informational error, that is, the information given to you by the assessor does not correctly state the authorization for the tax (it might be in response to legislation or some other source in tax increases, simply reported as "schools" but not specifically about the bond issue in question).

It is highly unlikely that via the wording of the bond issue, the voters of one district authorized the state to impose a tax on residents of a different district. However, it is not inconceivable that there was an error in interpreting the law. In that case, one would have to sue the government, forcing them to follow the law.

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