By CHRIS EVERSOLE
The valuation of property in the Mustang School District rose 9.98% in the latest assessment, while the Yukon School District assessment rose 8.11%.
The net assessed valuation is $538.9 million in the Mustang district and $457.6 million in the Yukon district.
The increases mean more money for schools, since 80% of all property taxes go to support education, Canadian County Assessor Matt Wehmuller said.
“It’s exciting to see the growth in property values, both from appreciation and new construction here in Canadian County, which is the fastest growing county in Oklahoma and one of the fastest growing in the U.S.,” he said.
Mustang Schools’ strong growth in valuation came about despite a decrease in the valuation of the portion of an OG&E Mustang Energy Center within the school district.
Two years ago, the power company began operating seven new gas-powered generators powered by Rolls Royce engines like those that power airliners.
The new turbines replaced an aging generating unit that was within the Mustang School District.
The Mustang Energy Center straddles the Mustang and Yukon school districts.
The new generators are north of the old plant, with five of them in the Yukon district and only two of them in the Mustang district.
As a result, Yukon Schools benefit, and Mustang Schools lose revenue.
Over the past two years, the OG&E Mustang Power Plant valuation for Mustang Schools dropped from $24.1 million to $14.4 million, and property tax revenue declined from $2.8 million to $1.7 million.
For Yukon Schools, the OG&E Mustang Power Plant valuation rose from $5.1 million to $21.2 million, and property tax revenue increased from $609,000 to $2.5 million.
In addition to increase property tax revenue, state revenue that supports schools is up, including a 26.8% increase in the Gross Production Tax statewide from May of last year to May of this year, said Nancy McKay, the chief financial officer for Mustang Public Schools.
The increased local revenue and increased state money have enabled Mustang Schools to give raises totaling $8,709 for starting teachers over the past two years, McKay said.
The additional money also helps the district cover pay for additional teachers needed for its growing enrollment and the operating cost new schools.
Mustang opened two schools last year and the new Central Middle School this year.
The Mustang Schools budget for the current fiscal year is $89.3 million, which compares to $74.5 million for the past school year.