We dropped two large pieces of data this week: breaking down Idaho’s rising supplemental property tax levy bill and Idaho’s increasing student enrollment.
So, let’s mash up these data sets a bit.
This first table looks at the 10 largest supplemental levies in Idaho, and where those districts rank in enrollment:
|District||Supplemental levy||Enrollment rank|
|1. Coeur d’Alene||$20,000,000||6|
|3. West Ada||$14,000,000||1|
|4. Lake Pend Oreille||$12,700,000||23|
|10. Idaho Falls||$6,800,000||7|
As these numbers show, there is little connection between local levies and enrollment. There are plenty of other variables that affect the size of a supplemental levy — including a district’s overall property value and, of course, a community’s willingness to pay.
But a supplemental levy is worth a lot more to some districts than it is to others. So let’s look at our top 10, and levy dollars per student:
|District||2019-2020 enrollment||Levy per student|
|1. Coeur d’Alene||11,026||$1,814|
|3. West Ada||40,291||$347|
|4. Lake Pend Oreille||3,683||$3,448|
|10. Idaho Falls||10,250||$663|
As I wrote about the new supplemental levy numbers this week — and sought reactions from state leaders — equity was a constant refrain and a recurring concern.
In that context, consider this: Moscow’s supplemental levy is worth 14 times more per student than West Ada’s levy. That’s not a misprint.
A couple of footnotes:
- If you’re wondering about the four other districts that rank in the top 10 in enrollment, three collect a supplemental levy: Bonneville ($5.8 million); Twin Falls ($5 million) and Vallivue ($4.5 million). Jefferson County does not collect a supplemental levy.
- The future of Nampa’s supplemental levy is very much in doubt. By a scant, 11-vote margin, patrons rejected a two-year, $24.15 million proposal Tuesday. District officials are pondering their next move.