Glossary of terms relevant to school finance | PostIndependent.com
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Glossary of terms relevant to school finance

TABOR: The Taxpayers Bill of Rights Amendment affects the government’s ability to raise and spend revenue. It requires voters to approve all tax and debt increases.Amendment 23: Amendment 23 was passed in 2000 to increase K-12 education funding and create stability in Colorado’s education funding.Gallagher Amendment: This amendment protects homeowners from large increases in property taxes as value increases. Mill levy: A mill is one-tenth of a cent (.001) and is usually added to property tax. It’s used to help fund teacher salaries.Mill levy override: School districts ask for a mill levy override when they need more property tax dollars than the state allows. Mill levies require voter approval and can’t exceed 20 percent of total program funding or $200,000, whichever is greater.Bonds: Bonds are used by school districts to finance one-time projects such as constructing new buildings. The interest and principal to be paid on bonds are generally levied as a property tax and are paid back within 20-25 years.Total program funding: Is a formula used to calculated how much it will cost to operate a school district within a given year. The calculation looks like: The total number of students as of an Oct. 1 count times per-pupil funding. This is paid for by three entities: the state, specific ownership taxes and property taxes. The state: Picks up all costs that property and ownership taxes don’t cover. State education funds come from state income tax and sales and use tax revenues. Re-1 is guaranteed $80.43 per pupil from the state.Specific ownership taxes: Vehicle registration and licensing taxes. These make up about 4 percent of total program funding, or about $241 per student.Property taxes: These are affected by TABOR and may not increase state revenues above inflation plus growth.Per-pupil funding: The amount of state, local and federal funding for each student in the district. This is determined by cost of living, personnel costs, the size of the district plus risk pupil funding and online funding. This is affected by Amendment 23. Cost of living: This is determined by the increase of cost of living above household income increase rather than inflation. This is reviewed every two years.Personnel: These are the costs of benefits, salaries and other personnel costs. These vary by enrollment. The more students in a school, the more teachers and administrators the district must hire.Size factor: Reflects in-district purchasing power. Smaller districts have a smaller size factor. At-risk funding: Determined by the number of students who receive free and reduced lunch. Actual value: The property’s total value as assessed by the county assessor. The average value of a home in Garfield County is $400,000.Assessed valuation: This is determined by multiplying the actual value of a home by the property tax assessment rate, which is currently 7.96 percent.English Language Proficiency Act: Requires funding to district programs that have English-limited students. Students can only stay in the programs for two years. It’s estimated that for the 2004-05 school year 20-25 percent of state funding will be spent on educating these children.Equalization: Equalizes districts so poor districts receive same amount of per-pupil dollars as wealthier districts. Equalization: Equalizes districts so poor districts receive same amount of per-pupil dollars as wealthier districts.


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