Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 31
School districts exemption (leased property) - Real Property Tax Law, § 408:
Real property owned by a school district is exempt from taxation even though it is rented to and occupied by a private person.
We have been asked if Chapter 91 of the Laws of 1974, which permits a school district to lease real property to others affects the exemption enjoyed by a school district pursuant to section 408 of the Real Property Tax Law.
The aforementioned chapter amends section 403-a of the Education Law to allow school districts to lease “specific real property” not needed for school purposes, whereas, in the past, such rentals were limited to “buildings”.
Section 408 of the Real Property Tax Law provides that “. . . all real property owned by a school district . . . shall be exempt from taxation and exempt from special ad valorem levies and special assessments to the extent provided in section four hundred ninety of this chapter.”
Section 408 does not require that such property owned by a school district be used for any particular purpose, nor does it contain a prohibition against an occupation of school district property by private persons. Accordingly, real property owned by a school district is exempt from taxation even though it is rented to and occupied by a private person.
Our opinion is in accord with prior opinions of the Attorney General (1913, Op.Atty.Gen. 304) and the State Comptroller (17 Op.State Compt. 112).
August 6, 1974