Monterey

In Monterey County, a total of $74,274,170 was taken out of a total of $300 million of school-allocated property taxes to pay State obligations in 2010-2011.  $61,780,703 was redirected to satisfy the State's VLF backfill obligation.  $12,493,467 was redirected to pay for the State's 2004 Economic Recovery Bonds.  This increased to $74,963,075 in 2011-12.

 

Had this been repaid promptly, it might have been merely irritating.  But Monterey County schools did not receive $58,611,250 of their state funding until after the 2010-11 school year was over.  The delayed payments grew to $88,360,852 for the 2011-12 school year, before declining (thanks to Prop 30) to $53,058,282 this past summer.  It has already been announced that $31,914,690 will be deferred past June 2014, with another 50% more on the statute books, typically included in June's Second Principal Apportionment.

 

Of the money taken from all local school-allotted property tax, $1,796,576 was taken from the K-12 schools’ base property tax allocation, after all the county’s Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund had been emptied (14.85% of total property tax revenues alone).  Monterey Peninsula Unified saw the last student leave for the summer in 2012 with $16M still owed to it, $8,270,898 of which had been deferred; Salinas Union High was owed $31M ($21,265,278 deferred) and Salinas Elementary $13M ($10,000,087). 

 

Monterey County's community colleges lost $618,634 of their base property tax allocation.

 

Sources:  For deferrals, see the Funding Excel Files - Second Principal Apportionment from the California Dept. of Education; for “negative ERAF” -- monies taken from primary allocations, see individual districts and counties at Ed-data.k12.ca.us from the CA Dept. of Education.  VLF and ERB totals from the State Controller's Office, Local Government Reporting Section. (City and county detail shown in the reports, totals upon request from the SCO.)

 

None of this is obvious from the publicly available information online.  If you search for the property-tax breakdown, you find yourself at the Tax Rate Books on the Monterey County Auditor-Controller website, where Monterey County taxpayers could be forgiven for concluding that 61.247002% of their property tax dollars went for School Entities.  

It would be more accurate to report that 45.9% of total Monterey County property tax flows to schools.  That's a fairly high percentage, so it's particularly odd that it is not accurately reported.

How would protecting Monterey County property taxes affect different districts?  Here is the 2011-12 base revenue-limit funding for the six unified districts. 

 

Two -- Pacific Grove and Carmel -- completely fund their base requirements (and much more) from directly allocated local property taxes.  As a result, none of their property tax is taken and things would remain the same.

 

Four -- Monterey Peninsula, North Monterey County, Gonzales and Soledad -- would once again be able to rely on a combination of directly allocated property taxes, plus county-wide property taxes allocated to the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund, and State Aid.  Now these four districts receive only State Aid (39% of which was deferred until after the 2011-12 school year) and directly allocated property taxes that have been reduced up to $61 a student! 

 

And which district suffers most from the diversion?  Soledad.  And which has the greatest proportion of high-needs students?  Soledad.  (Low-income/English-learner percentages are shown in parentheses.)