Most education funding comes from local property taxes. When you have a fragmented system of school districts and economic segregation, this leads to highly unequal funding of education. Districts with high property values can have both low tax rates and high levels of spending on public schools. Meanwhile, districts with low property values require high tax rates just to maintain lower levels of education spending. On top of this, schools with more students in poverty must provide more services to their students. Local property tax rates vary from 3.53% (Ladue) to 6.54% (Jennings). Meanwhile, spending per student, from local, state, and federal sources, ranges from $8,966 in Bayless to $17,869 in Clayton. Public schools exist to educate all children. Not just those in our individual neighborhoods. Tax rates should be equal for all districts throughout the county.
School districts in all areas should have the same resources to provide quality education to all children, regardless of the district which they live in. Currently, the wealth of a few areas of the county is “trapped” within those districts and cannot flow to other school districts with lower property values. Either we need to find a new way to fund schools, or equalize property tax rates and education spending throughout the St. Louis area. Assessed property values per student by school district (in $K) RIVERVIEW GARDENS 38 JENNINGS 38 NORMANDY 67 FERGUSON-FLORISSANT 79 RITENOUR 86 HAZELWOOD 90 BAYLESS 91 HANCOCK PLACE 111 ROCKWOOD R-VI 153 AFFTON 154 MEHLVILLE R-IX 158 WEBSTER GROVES 158 VALLEY PARK 161 LINDBERGH SCHOOLS 190 UNIVERSITY CITY 195 MAPLEWOOD-RICHMOND HEIGHTS 220 KIRKWOOD R-VII 225 PATTONVILLE R-III 235 (data from Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and St. Louis County Department of Revenue)