MREA released a map today that illustrates patterns in ANTC/APU as a measure of Minnesota school district property wealth in 2014. A thumbnail is below. View the interactive map.
In 2015, is ANTC/APU still the formula by which “The Legislature shall make provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a through and efficient system of public schools throughout the state?” (Minnesota Constitution, Article 13, Section 1). MREA raises this question because to focus on the “average school district” obscures significant regional variations from the average ANTC/APU.
- The average 2014 ANTC/APU $6,625 per APU. The median ANTC/APU is $7,111, but the variation is enormous ranging from $0 per pupil in Pine Point to $52,304 per pupil for Milroy.
- Applying the 5th to 95th analysis to this variation results in a ratio of 1 to 5.6 in the multiple from $3,271 per APU (5th percentile – Esko) to $18,239 (95th percentile -Wheaton).
- Regional patterns in this variation as can be seen in this map of school district ANTC/APU.
- Three trends underlie this pattern:
Property wealth and property taxes per pupil in attendance at school have supported public education in Minnesota since 1887. Every generation or so, how that wealth is calculated and distributed so educational opportunity meets the Minnesota constitutional standard of a “general and uniform system of public schools” (Article 13, Section 1) is reexamined.
Within the last 60 years, studies and changes were made in 1955, 1970, and most recently in 2002. (Citizens League Report, 1970; MINNESOTA SCHOOL FINANCE HISTORY, 1849 – 2014)
Conclusion: The Perfect Storm
The current formula for calculating the wealth of the district AMPC/APU is a fraction. As any 6th grader can tell you the value of a fraction increases when the numerator increases (ANTC) or the denominator decreases (APU). For many rural school districts, both are happening and ag land values are trending dramatically upwards.
The result is that fully 42 percent of Minnesota’s school districts will not qualify for any equalization of the new Long Term Deferred Maintenance Revenue or increased Debt Service Equalization despite the recommended increase in equalization to 125 percent of the average school district’s ANTC/APU. The vast majority of those school districts are in rural Minnesota.
MREA is releasing a series of maps looking at various aspects of school district wealth and household income. These were released previously in the fall of 2014 and can be found at Determining District Wealth Report: View Part 1. View Part 2.