A Per Pupil Analysis of Revenue
This is the second in a series of reports that are being generated on behalf of the Board of Education. The purpose of this report is to provide a simple and accurate analysis of the major revenue sources for the regional school district.
It is the hope of the Board of Education and this administration that the following data will help everyone better understand how revenues are being generated to operate the regional school district. Specifically, this analysis will analyze the Per Pupil revenues generated in three critical areas: Taxes, State Aid, and Federal Impact Aid.
Total Revenue Per Pupil:
Total revenue equals the compilation of Taxes, State Aid, and Federal Impact Aid. The chart below summarizes the "total revenue received per pupil" for the 2004-2005 school year.
|Students||Total Revenue Per Pupil|
This chart shows the breakdown by municipality and the chart also breaks out the total revenues received for each student living on McGuire Air force base. Again, total revenues equal the compilation of Taxes, State Aid, and Federal Impact Aid.For one to better understand how each of these revenues is generated, separate charts have been developed to demonstrate per pupil contributions for Taxes, State Aid, and Federal Impact Aid. Per Pupil Taxes:
The following chart provides an overview of the taxes raised by each municipality on a per pupil basis for the regional school district.
|Students||Taxes||Taxes Per Pupil|
It is important to note here that because the 421 students living on McGuire Air Force Base generate no property tax revenue for the regional school district the federal government does pay the district Federal Impact Aid in lieu of taxes. For 2003, the regional school district received $1,223,055 in Impact Aid. For 2004, the regional school district received $1,626,467 in Impact Aid. Per Pupil Federal Impact Aid:
The chart below reflects the per pupil dollars generated by Impact Aid.
|Federally Connected Students||Federal Aid||Federal Aid Per Pupil|
This chart provides a simple overview of the Impact Aid revenues paid to the regional school district in lieu of taxes. This aid is paid to the schools for students that live on McGuire Air Force Base. It is a revenue source that contributes to the McGuire Air Force Base "share" of the total revenue paid to the regional school district. Per Pupil "Core" State Aid:
Next, the "core" curriculum aid paid to the regional school district needs to be considered when reviewing the "per pupil" revenues paid to the regional school district. Over 40% of the total revenues paid to the regional district come from the state so it is clear to see how state aid is a vital component of the revenue sources paid to the regional school district.
|Students||"Core" State Aid||"Core" Aid Per Pupil|
Clearly, North Hanover and McGuire Air Force Base contribute a significant amount of "Core" state aid to the regional schools. Conclusion:
It is important to understand the various revenue sources available to the regional school district. The following chart summarizes this compilation of revenue:
|Students||"Core" Aid Per Pupil||Taxes Per Pupil||Federal Aid Per Pupil||Total Revenue Per Pupil|
James Sarruda, Ed. D.
Superintendent of SchoolsNorthern BurlingtonCounty Regional Schools
A Closer Look at School Finance
I understand that the political arena becomes a heated one each year around election time. As the Superintendent of the Northern Burlington County Regional School District, I have no desire to be a part of that arena. My job is to be the guardian of the students, without bias, in each of our constituent municipalities: Chesterfield, Mansfield, North Hanover, and Springfield.
In the interest of communicating to our constituent communities, I have been asked by the Board of Education, particularly the board members representing Mansfield Township, to prepare these facts in order to clarify and address the great number of questions and concerns that have arisen as a result of recent newspaper articles and rumors regarding the restructuring or the dissolution of the regional district.
The School Board has recently learned that Mansfield Township has awarded a contract to an attorney, Mr. Vito Gagliardi Jr., to complete a feasibility study that will examine the tax structure in the regional school district. Mr. Gagliardi's firm has attracted several municipalities throughout the state whose constituents feel they are unjustly burdened with taxes.
From where I sit, I believe there is a need to communicate a bigger picture. Instead of focusing on Mansfield Township , let's take a look at the region. The following data will help everyone better understand how the regional school district is funded.
Total Revenue Contribution By Municipality
When one examines the tax structure in the Northern Burlington County Regional School District, one must first understand the legislation that governs school finance. One must also recognize that there are three major revenue sources that support the regional schools: Local Taxes, State Aid, and Federal Impact Aid.
It is true that Mansfield Township contributes 46% of the local taxes and sends 28% of the students to the regional school district, but let's look at what is also true.
- It is also true that Mansfield Township contributes 0% Federal Impact Aid, contributes just slightly over 2% of the State Aid, and sends 28% of the students to the regional school district.
- It is also true that Mansfield Township contributes approximately 28% of the total revenue and sends 28% of the students to the regional school district.
- It is also true that Chesterfield, North Hanover, and Springfield contribute a percentage of total revenue that is equivalent to the percentage of students they send to the district.
So what does this mean to the community member who is sitting at home trying to understand State Aid formulas, feasibility studies, and his/her taxes? Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple one. The New Jersey Legislature, not the Northern Burlington County Regional School District or its Board of Education, decides the formula that is used to arrive at the tax contribution.
In 1975, the New Jersey Legislature changed the funding mechanism for all school districts, not just regional school districts, so that taxes in each municipality are based on property values. This legislation further determined that State Aid would be distributed based on property values and aggregate personal income of the municipalities.
New Jersey defines, funds, and oversees the provision of a thorough and efficient education in each school district. Levels of State Aid are assigned to each municipality and determined by the "local wealth" or, as the State calls it, "equalized valuation" of each municipality. Local wealth is a combination of property value, be it residential, commercial, or industrial, and aggregate personal income in a district.
Given this as a backdrop, here is how the three revenue sources and their distribution look at Northern Burlington for this current school year.
|Local Taxes||CoreStateAid||Impact Aid||% of Aid||Total Revenue||% of Revenue||% Students|
The numbers speak for themselves. Clearly, each municipality provides a combination of aid and tax revenue that closely equals the percentage of students that come from each respective municipality.Equalized Valuation, Tax Rate, and Percentage Share
Now, let's take a quick look at the percentage share of regional school taxes. In 1995, Mansfield 's percentage share of regional school taxes was 40.7%, and the tax rate was $.716. For the next six years through 2001, Mansfield 's percentage share of the regional school taxes was lower than its 1995 share due to the stable community and stable growth.
It is only in the last two years that Mansfield 's percentage share has increased to 46.1%, and its tax rate is now $1.086. This change occurred from an increase of Mansfield 's equalized valuation, $415,595,990 in 2001 to $601,702,067 in 2004. That's a 45% increase in equalized valuation in four years.
Take a look at how the equalized valuation of each constituent municipality has changed since 2001.
Also notable is that this four cent average increase in Mansfield included both the 1996 and the 2000 special referendums. In 2000, a $27.6 million referendum was passed to build the new regional middle school. This facility was constructed to accommodate the increased student population in the district. From 1999 to the present, 70% of the regional school's student population increases has come from Mansfield Township . At the same time, if the State had maintained its State Aid per pupil funding level for the Northern Burlington County Regional School Distinct, Mansfield would have actually seen a reduction in taxes this last year.
There has been much discussion recently in the local papers regarding the regional school district tax structure, some of it implied that the school administration and its school board do not understand the big picture. I assure you that we do. The Board of Education, with members representing all the students and families from the four sending districts, understands New Jersey 's school funding legislation.
The move by Mansfield Township to begin a feasibility study is coming at a time when our region continues to change. The growth has not stopped in Mansfield as new developments move forward to the construction phase. In addition, there is significant growth underway in Chesterfield as well. As a result, each municipality's percentage share of the regional school taxes will be impacted by this growth and adjusted accordingly. Your School Board stays abreast of all these changes and responds to the challenges that result.
The School Board members, both past and present, take great pride in the quality of educational services and opportunities that the children of these communities receive. The Board of Education will continue to voluntarily dedicate hundreds of hours to the service of the regional school district and continue to provide these services and opportunities in a fiscally responsible manner.
James Sarruda, Ed. D.