Property Value Per Student versus District Tax Rate
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What you are looking at:
The Tax Capacity/Effort chart uses the assessed property value for the whole state, divided by the statewide capacity and multiplied by 100. The tax rate is similarly aggregated, divided by the state tax rate and multiplied by 100. This shows how much a municipality can or could tax their local properties compared to how much they do tax the local properties.
What you are looking for:
You notice that towns with large capacities tend to make the smallest efforts. Conversely, the towns with least capacity tend to make the largest efforts.
A good way of thinking about both tax-related charts (this page and prior) is to imagine what it would mean if the bars representing the Effort – in the latter chart – were all the same. Imagine moving that Effort bar to 100, which is what the above mathematical manipulation does in order to plot the districts on either side of that equalized 100 mark. If the Effort were identical between the districts and the capacity were as it is currently, the tax rates on the other chart would have to shift so that all towns, rich and poor were making the same financial effort relative to their capacity. (This is essentially what Act 60 in Vermont does by redistributing tax dollars collected from wealthier communities to poorer communities.)
Also, bear in mind that even though the state pays a large share of the poorer districts’ school bill, the urbans’ tax rates, which are the highest in the state, only serve to fill some of the gap. The poorer districts still have the highest class sizes in the state, buildings often in states of serious disrepair and students with the highest need for support services.
District Level School Expenditures – In$ite Data
Four years ago and in collaboration with RIDE, the General Assembly decided to establish a detailed and informative system of reporting educational expenditures for all school districts. They selected software called the In$ite Financial Analysis Model for
Education™ which tracks all expenditures through the local school district to the school sites. “All expenditures” includes expenditures from all funding sources – e.g., federal, state, and foundation grants, general revenue budget, total food service expenditures regardless of revenue source, and debt service if part of the school district’s budget.
For more detail on In$ite, its implementation and the specifics which define its large categories, please refer to the
User's Guide. Detailed expenditure accounts for each school are also available on this website.
A word of caution
Please be cautious about making assumptions for your school or district. Often district decisions or other factors particular to a district easily explain figures that initially seem unusually high or low. Appropriate school or district financial managers should be able to answer your questions or concerns.
Per pupil expenditures
All expenditure dollars on the school and district charts are expressed as a per pupil figure. These per pupil expenditures are based on the Average Daily Membership
(ADM) of students and then their full-time equivalent (FTE) in their respective programs. Per pupil is not a simple head-count, but a count by FTE. A child enrolled for an entire school year in a full-day program equals one FTE. A half-day kindergarten student enrolled for a full year equals ½ or .5 FTE. If a student was not enrolled for the full year, his or her FTE would decrease by the time not enrolled. Thus, the half-day kindergarten student enrolled for only half a year equals 1/4 or .25 FTE.
Each student’s FTE is then divided by the educational programs provided to that student. A child’s participation in Special Education Resource or English as a Second Language is counted only as a percentage of that child’s day. In a six-period day, a child who spends one period in a specific program will count as one sixth for that program. Six such periods a day for the full school year would account for the full-time equivalent (FTE) and for a full year’s per pupil expenditure for that program.
The virtual RI school district
In order to compare one district to a state average, we’ve created a “virtual” district by adding every districts’ expenditures and dividing by the total “Average Daily Membership” enrollment for the state. The Virtual District does not imply a standard for best fiscal practices; it merely serves to orient each individual district’s spending to the current practices of the state as a whole.
Average daily membership (ADM)
Average daily membership (ADM) calculates an average of the number of days all students are formally members of a district and/or school per year.