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Study Shows Schools’ Share of Property Tax Dollar Shrinking

An Action Alameda News study of Alameda County Tax Assessor annual reports from Fiscal Years 2004-05 through 2009-10 shows that school districts’ share of property tax dollars is shrinking, while local redevelopment agencies’ share is growing.

According to the tax assessor reports, in the 2004-05 Fiscal Year, schools received 44 cents of every property tax dollar, cities received 18 cents, special districts received 14 cents, Alameda County received 15 cents and redevelopment agencies within the County received 9 cents. In the 2009-10 Fiscal Year, the assessor reports say that schools will receive 41 cents of every property tax dollar, down 3 cents, and redevelopment districts will receive 13 cents, up four cents. (These were the years for which the Tax Assessor could provide annual reports.)

Breakdown of Alameda County Property Tax Dollar

The shift in share of property tax dollars to redevelopment agencies comes largely at the expense of school districts in Alameda County, as the other categories have stayed flat in the same time period. Redevelopment agencies use the property taxes to fund development projects. For example, SunCal was counting on a $200 million redevelopment subsidy in their failed Measure B ballot measure. And the redevelopment mechanism was used to fund the Alameda Civic Center Parking Garage.

School districts are funded first with local property tax dollars, and then State of California funds are added, up until each district has met its state-mandated “revenue limit.” When local property taxes drop, due to a reduction in home values, or a shift in property tax dollars to redevelopment agencies, local school districts need either more State money, or increased parcel taxes, to hit their maximum revenue limit funding amount.

In the City of Alameda, the local redevelopment agency, the Community Improvement Commission of the City of Alameda, has seen it’s revenue from property taxes almost double from $7.9 million in 2004 to $15.6 million in 2009. (Source: City of Alameda Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, 2009)

The video below illustrates how funding schools under the revenue limit system works and how reductions in local property taxes necessitate additional State funding or new parcel taxes.

Alameda County Tax Assessor Summary

8 comments to Study Shows Schools’ Share of Property Tax Dollar Shrinking

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean that to the extent that voters decide to subsidize developer’s profits with our tax dollars, with tax increment financing for infrastructure, etc., that the voters are at the same time saying that its OK to do so at the expense of the dollars for and presumably quality of education in the public schools?

    Candidates for office such as Mataresse, Daysog, Bonto and LENA TAM seem all to support massive developer subsidies for Alsmeda Point and or SUNCAL. Is this consistent with articulated positions of supporting the schools? If voters can’t afford to do both, how do we know who to trust? How can we control how the tax money will eventually get spent – either for schools or developers subsidies – if these candidates can’t seem to put two and two together?

    I am really at a loss here as what to think.

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  • Yes, that’s pretty much what it means. Nobody would vote for a parcel tax to subsidize a SunCal, but tax increment financing can silently siphon off tax dollars behind the scenes, and then people will vote for a parcel tax to keep the schools funded.

    The $15 million per year in property taxes that the local redevelopment agency (the CIC) takes, is about the same amount as what the District hopes to raise with the parcel tax. If 41 cents of every one of those dollars WASN’T going to redevelopment, and going to schools, instead, in line with the County average, that would be over $6 million/year for AUSD.

    Even if the revenue limit for Alameda were never increased – something the District should be working for – if the redevelopment property tax money – that’s your local property tax dollars, folks! – WASN’T re-directed to subsidies, and allowed to go to our schools, counties, etc., the District would need LESS money from the State, which the District says never provides enough anyway.

    And the State could re-distribute those funds elsewhere in California…providing a public education for everyone in the State

  • Smart voter

    I find it odd, that the very same people that supported Measure B, that was defeated in a landslide, are now supporting the new parcel tax. Do we really want these tax and spend politicians running our City?
    Mataresse and Daysog are running for Mayor and have come out in favor of the tax, forgetting, that the new tax is almost identical to Measure H, which is an illegal tax and will remain so, unless a Judge rules otherwise. I would suggest to all members of the City Council and those running for office, to remain neutral, since the lawsuits are still in litigation.

  • Lori

    This is exactly why we need the parcel tax! Also, the judge has indicated that Measure H was not illegal.

  • So you’re happy to keep passing and paying new parcel taxes, while developers like SunCal come in and siphon off tax dollars to fund projects that give them private profits? Some would say this is exactly the reason NOT to pass a parcel tax, because the parcel tax isn’t funding schools, but in fact is helping to subsidize private development. Some would say that the correct course of action is to upset the coziness between City Councilmembers, AUSD board members and the redevelopment machine. In fact, we will not support parcel taxes until this pattern (redevelopment taking local property tax money that should go to schools) is reversed.

    And the Measure H case is not over – there has not yet been a final ruling. In any event, no matter what the ruling, one side or the other will appeal.

  • Lori’s comment is a non-sequitur, which suggests she either attended Alameda schools or is a teacher there.

    ; – )

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