Galena, USD 499
- Value of real property - $16,457,768
- AVPP - $20,251
Newton, USD 373
- Value of real property - $151,120,077
- AVPP - $43,852
Burlington, USD 244
- Value of real property - $390,951,572
- AVPP - $479,577
If you think about the fact that a district's property wealth (or lack thereof) is what drives local tax revenue, you can begin to see the disparity pretty clearly. Obviously, a 1 mill tax levy in Galena will raise significantly less than the same tax levy in Burlington (1 mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed valuation). If school districts relied solely on what they could raise locally, there would be a tremendous disparity among districts in terms of what programs, supports, and facilities could be offered to students.
These factors are exactly why the school finance formula currently contains a method for "equalization." In other words, the state utilizes a mathematical formula to determine how much a school district should receive in equalization aid - which helps to ensure your zip code doesn't dictate what quality of school your kids attend. Equalization aid is applied to the district's Supplemental General Fund (or Local Option Budget - aka LOB), Capital Outlay Fund, & Bond & Interest Fund.
In Newton, the combination of state aid in these three funds for the current school year is budgeted to be nearly $6,900,000. Equalization matters...a lot!
© 2015 Russell K. Miller, EdD