The following example illustrates the unfairness of un-equalized local funding. If STMA and the Hopkins Public Schools both requested excess operating levy referendums for the same $1,633 per pupil currently allowed by the state, it would cost $497 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home in STMA compared to just $153 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home in Hopkins. The reason for the difference is the comparatively large amount of commercial property in the Hopkins district and the lack of adequate equalization aid from the state to compensate for that difference.
As a result, voters in low-wealth districts like STMA have to pay more property taxes to get the same or less school levy revenue as a high-wealth district. This imbalance, combined with the increased reliance on local levy referendums for basic school funding, is resulting in a widening gap between the quality of education that can be offered to students in low-wealth districts, where levies cost homeowners more, and high-wealth districts, where levies cost less and are easier to pass.
Increased Equalization = Enhanced Opportunities for Students + Property Tax Relief
All students must have equal access to a high quality education regardless of where they live in Minnesota! STMA's legislative priority is to reduce the education opportunity gap based on zip code and provide taxpayer fairness in school levies. This short, fun, yet very informative video defines the problem. Please take three minutes to watch and pass it on to your friends and neighbors.