Ohio Family Finds It Paid Taxes for Nothing

By way of The True Stella Awards comes news of this story of an Ohio family that is being sued by a local school district.

The family home, you see, sat in two school districts. As the Cincinnati Enquirer reports:

While building their Forest Pine Drive home in 1993, [the Huegel family] discovered the property sat in two school districts… Because of that, the Huegels sought an Ohio Department of Education opinion in 1993.”The Ohio Department of Education told us we could attend either school district, because we were paying taxes in both,” [James] Huegel said…

But in 1999, the school district the family chose, Forest Hills, told the family the children couldn’t attend its schools — and it demanded $35,485 in back tuition to cover 1993 to 1999.In 2000, although it was determined that the family’s residence would henceforth be considered part of the Forest Hills school district, Forest Hills sued for back-tuition, and the family, despite having paid property taxes and following the procedure the state told it to follow, is still being hounded for the cash.

Huegel made one point to the Enquirer: “They (Forest Hills) have some responsibility in this also to know what property is in their district or what property they believe is in their district. It’s not like we gave them a phony address.”

I’d make another: The Huegel children were entitled to attend public schools. There is no reason why the school districts could not work together to ensure that the family, as well as the taxpayers of both counties, are treated equitably. Any tuition genuinely due the Forest Hills school district should be paid by the neighboring school district — the other school district to which the Huegel family paid school taxes — rather than from the Huegel family itself.

Failing that, the Huegel family should get a refund of all property taxes paid — to both counties — for all the years for which it is being charged tuition. If the school district can opt-out of providing the service the family paid taxes for, the family should be able to opt-out of paying the taxes.

Why does government so often seem to do simple things the hard way? And a final question — are the illegal aliens who attend public schools hounded for tuition like the Huegels?

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