Oklahoma Supreme Court rules for rural school district

The Mountain View-Gotebo School District won a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Tax Commission seeking $733,000 that was denied to the district and Kiowa County because of a paperwork error.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: October 22, 2011
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The Oklahoma Tax Commission must pay Kiowa County and a rural school district $733,000 in tax reimbursements denied because of a clerical error, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled.

“It's a big relief for everyone in Kiowa County,” said Andy Evans, superintendent of the Mountain View-Gotebo School District.

“We're not really going to have to scrimp by to make our ends meet. It takes our fund balance up by almost $367,000 and puts an additional $60,000 in our building fund.”

Tax Commission spokeswoman Paula Ross said the agency will not challenge the Supreme Court's unanimous opinion, which was issued Thursday.

“The Tax Commission is pleased to receive guidelines from the court to help resolve this matter,” Ross said.

The commission was following a strict rule in state statute that set a deadline for tax-reimbursement applications.

“We have to follow statute, so this is good that we have guidelines to help,” Ross said.

Evans learned late last year that because the proper paperwork hadn't been filed with the Tax Commission, the 250-student school district in southwestern Oklahoma stood to lose a quarter of its annual budget.

After many months of negotiations, Evans filed a lawsuit asking the state Supreme Court to rule on the case.

Reimbursement fund

The money at issue, almost three-quarters of a million dollars, is the 2010 property taxes due on a wind-energy farm in Kiowa County.