Over $37 million will be taken out of Merced County schools' local property taxes to fund the state's debts this fiscal year. Merced County K-12 school districts will see a minimum of $37,788,490 still owed to them when the school year ends (June 2014). Merced County Community College District will also face deferrals, exceeding $4.5 million of its revenue this year. In the most recent available data (2011-12), $37,581,932 was taken out of Merced County school-allocated property tax, $32,286,613 for the VLF "Swap" and $5,295,319 to pay for the 2004 Economic Recovery Bonds.
Can Merced County's schoolchildren afford to finance the state's debts? No. According to the new Local Control Funding Formula, Merced County needs 72% more funding to adequately educate its student population than it's getting this school year -- the largest deficit in the entire state. Redirecting 20% of Merced's total property tax base away from its children does not help close this gap.
When the school doors close in June 2014, over $6 million will still be owed to Merced City Elementary and $5.9 million to Merced Union High. Los Banos will be short $5.5 million. Atwater Elementary will be waiting for $2.9 million, while Hilmar Unified, Livingston Union, Weaver Union, Winton, Gustine Unified, Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified, and Delhi Unified will all be short at least $1 million.
Sources: State Controller's Office, Local Government Reporting Section. (City and county detail shown in the reports, totals upon request from the SCO.) California Department of Education, First Principal Apportionment.
Would you have known that this was the case? No.
The "Where Does Your Tax $ Go?" on the Treasurer-Tax Collector's website ignores the fact that 38% of all property taxes allocated to education are redirected. The dollar bill below should read:
37% ACTUALLY GETS TO SCHOOLS ... 23% IS DIVERTED TO STATE DEBTS ... 16% COUNTY ... 4% DIST ... 13% CITIES ... 7% FIRE
Prior Year Data:
In Merced County, a total of $38,278,421 was taken out of school-allocated property taxes to pay State obligations in 2010-2011. $32,524,310 was redirected to satisfy the State's VLF backfill obligation. $5,754,111 was redirected to pay for the State's 2004 Economic Recovery Bonds.
Source: State Controller's Office, Local Government Reporting Section. (City and county detail shown in the reports, totals upon request from the SCO.)