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.

 

Kevin Richert

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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