Supplemental levies and enrollment: crunching the numbers

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
2.     Lewiston $15,680,295 17
3.     West Ada $14,000,000 1
4.     Lake Pend Oreille $12,700,000 23
5.     Moscow $11,374,550 29
6.     Boise $10,708,000 2
7.     Nampa $9,375,000 3
8.     Pocatello-Chubbuck $9,244,455 5
9.     Lakeland $8,990,534 18
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
2.     Lewiston 4,724 $3,319
3.     West Ada 40,291 $347
4.     Lake Pend Oreille 3,683 $3,448
5.     Moscow 2,286 $4,976
6.     Boise 25,352 $422
7.     Nampa 13,912 $674
8.     Pocatello-Chubbuck 12,470 $741
9.     Lakeland 4,554 $1,974
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.

 

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