James McWeenyPeter ZawadskiAlthough the economy has improved, money remains tight for school districts. While all school districts vigilantly guard their revenue, not all districts are engaged in protecting their tax base through property tax complaints. Getting involved in the property tax process now is a good way to protect against the erosion of revenue later.

If your district files complaints against the valuation of real property, then keep in mind that the deadline to file complaints is March 31. Ohio law requires that attorneys file complaints on behalf of school boards. So be sure to give legal counsel plenty of time to prepare complaints.

If your district has not been involved in ad valorem tax proceedings, but you are curious about the strategy or process, then reach out to legal counsel. Your attorney can provide guidance on best practices, preparing complaints or countering those complaints filed by property owners who try to reduce their property values.

Treasurers are also reminded to keep an eye out for notices from their county auditors or fiscal officers regarding property tax complaints filed by property owners. The deadline to file counter-complaints in response is only 30 days. So when you receive such notices, be sure to promptly forward them to legal counsel.

If a deadline is overlooked, a school district may lose its chance to participate in the proceedings or challenge the property owner.

James McWeeney is an associate at Walter | Haverfield who focuses his practice on education law, labor and employment and litigation. He can be reached at jmcweeney@walterhav.com or at 216-928-2959.

Peter Zawadski is an associate at Walter | Haverfield who focuses his practice on education law as well as labor and employment matters. He can be reached at pzawadski@walterhav.com and at 216-928-2920.