Funding for public schools is complicated. It comes for all sorts of sources and is adjusted for all sorts of things.
In Virginia, much of our public school funding comes from local property taxes. Because areas with higher property values have a larger and wealthier base from which to obtain the funds for public education (and other local services) the state developed an index, the Local Composite Index (LCI), which allocates more state education funds to districts with lower property values than to districts with higher property values.
Yes – that means that the state provides less in education funding on a per child basis for kids in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.
As we’re all well aware, over the past several years property values in our county rose sharply. Prince William County was one of the fastest growing districts in the state and country. When the bubble burst property values in Prince William were among the first to fall and dropped the furthest.
In the past this would have meant that the change in PWC’s LCI would result in an increase in the per child allocation of state education funds because our counties relative wealth, as determined by property values, had dropped significantly.
Not this year.
The state is considering freezing the LCI at previous levels. The net “cost” of this freeze to PWC students – about $20 million less than we would have received had the LCI been adjusted to reflect the drop in property values.
For years the LCI resulted in PWC receiving less and less from the state for education on a per child basis because of our increasing property values. Now that our property values have tanked, and the base upon which we can raise local funds for schools has shrunk, we should be getting more from the state on a per child basis.
I encourage each of yo to contact your state delegates and ask them to oppose the LCI freeze.