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School district administrators have argued for years that charter school funding should be listed on property tax notices.

They could see their wish come true next year after the Charter School Funding Task Force voted on Thursday to start drafting legislation to make that change.

Districts currently are required to divert a portion of their local revenue to support charter schools located within their boundaries.

That revenue sharing, known as "local replacement funding," has long been a thorn in the side of district administrators, who object to serving as the taxing authority for alternative schools with independent budgets and oversight.

Jordan Board of Education President Susan Pulsipher said her district's charter school bill is roughly $3 million each year.

She said residents often are surprised to learn that their tax dollars don't stay with Jordan School District.

"When we tell them that some goes to charters, they're very surprised, because there just isn't that understanding out there, and I think there needs to be," she said.

The Jordan Board of Education sent a letter to lawmakers last year asking that property tax notices include the amount funneled to charter schools. That request was effectively dead on arrival.

But Pulsipher said the task force's discussion left her optimistic for the upcoming session.

"They seem to have a good understanding of the need for it and a desire to move forward," she said.

Charters are public schools, but operate independently of the state's 41 school districts. They are overseen by unelected boards, and frequently contract with private companies for services and administration.

The task force has discussed several issues related to charter funding, including a separate statewide property tax for the alternative schools and tweaking the methods for calculating enrollment for state per-pupil allocations.

Draper Republican Sen. Howard Stephenson, the task force's chairman and president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said he objects to creating a new tax for charters but could potentially support a charter line item on property tax notices.

"I think that kind of information may make sense," he said.

And Rep. Steven Eliason, R-Sandy, suggested the tax notice proposal is relatively low-hanging fruit compared to the thornier aspects of charter funding.

"This is a simple move that costs nothing and allows greater transparency," he said.

Not all members of the task force were convinced.

State School Board Chairman David Crandall voted against drafting a bill.

And Herriman Republican Rep. John Knotwell said tax notices are meant to show the revenue of taxing entities, not their expenses.

"The taxpayer is not generating income to the charter school," he said. "They're generating income to the district that then has an expense to the charter school."

But local replacement funding is not a voluntary expense, Pulsipher said.

She said the law puts districts in a position of collecting taxpayer dollars, without any control over how those dollars are used.

"One thing that districts feel very strongly about is the need to be responsible to their taxpayers for how money is spent," she said.