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School Board Appeals to Tax Authority Still Permitted When Complaint Was Filed Before July 21, 2022

In the case of Lancaster City School Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Fairfield Cty. Bd. of Revision, 2023-Ohio-3985, an appellate court held that the school board was permitted to appeal the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals when the school board did not own or lease the property that was being valuated because the original complaint was filed prior to the enactment of amendments to R.C. 5717.01.

In this case, the school board argued that the new amendments to R.C. 5715.19(A) and R.C. 5717.01 only applied to original complaints that were filed after July 21, 2022, the effective date of the amendments. In response, the board of revision argued that school boards were not able to appeal the decision of a tax appeal under the new amendments, even for complaints pre-dating the amendments. The appellate court agreed with the school board.

In support of its decision in favor of the school board, the appellate court explained that the language of R.C. 5715.19 does not specify whether complaints filed under the previous version of R.C. 5715.19 are “original complaints” or “counter-complaints, so the prohibition of appeals does not apply to previously-filed complaints. The appellate court further explained that the language of the amendments is written in the present tense, negating any inference that the intent was to have the language apply retrospectively.  Under rules of statutory interpretation, new laws are considered to be prospective rather than retrospective when they are enacted unless the law explicitly states otherwise.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

NOTE: The fact pattern from this case is very similar to New Albany-Plain Local Schools Bd of Edn. v. Franklin Cty. Bd. of Revision, 2023-Ohio-3806, the blog for which can be found here and was made by the same appellate court on the same day as Olentangy Local School Dist. Bd. of Edn. v. Delaware Cty. Bd. of Revision, 2023-Ohio-3984, the blog for which can be found here. Many appellate courts in Ohio are striking down the Board of Tax Appeals decision in North Ridgeville City Schools Board of Education v. Lorain County Board of Revision, BTA No. 2022-1152, 2022 WL 16725740, 2022 Ohio Tax LEXIS 2518 (Oct. 31, 2022).

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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