Kings County has the highest percentage of overall property taxes diverted to satisfy the state’s debts in California -- one property tax dollar out of every three. From a school perspective, this means two out of every three property tax dollars allocated to education go to offset state obligations, not to schools.
The county’s entire $20,000,000 Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund is redirected each year, along with 43% of the direct tax allocations to schools and community colleges -- for a total of over $30 million dollars. And this redirection is not repaid on time.
Are Kings County schoolchildren wealthy enough to serve as the state’s piggybank? No.
73% of them qualify as Low-Income/English-Learners/Foster-Children for LCFF purposes.
Are Kings County schools well-funded enough to serve as the state’s piggybank? No.
Kings ranks 50th (out of the 58 counties) in terms of 2013-14 LCFF funding adequacy.
Yet, over $30,000,000 a year of property tax is taken from Kings County education to satisfy state obligations.
Meanwhile, in 2011-12, Kings County K-12 schools alone were not paid over $60,000,000 until after the school year had ended -- $44,000,000 in official deferrals. Last year, they were not paid $40,000,000 until after the school year had ended – over $30,000,000 in official deferrals. The community colleges serving Kings County suffered similar fates.
So the promise that Proposition 98 would hold schools harmless from this diversion was a very hollow one for Kings County schoolchildren. Can Kings County’s kids really wait for an education, while the state uses their most reliable, stable source of school funding to satisfy its own debts?
In Kings County, a total of $30,835,760 was taken out of school-allocated property taxes to pay State obligations in 2010-2011. $28,423,881 was redirected to satisfy the State's VLF backfill obligation. $2,411,879 was redirected to pay for the State's 2004 Economic Recovery Bonds. In 2011-12, this increased to $30,990,865.
Source: State Controller's Office, Local Government Reporting Section. (City and county detail shown in the reports, totals upon request from the SCO.)