Funding for Public Education comes from three general sources: federal, state, and local funds. Federal funds account for 11.86% of school districts’ General Fund revenue and is appropriated for specific purposes. State funds account for 63.99% of school districts’ General Fund revenue and earmarks revenue from income taxes for public and higher education. Local funding accounts for 24.15% of the school districts’ General Fund revenues.
Local funding consists of revenue from six different taxes that a local school board may levy plus interest on investments, tuition payments, and student fees. Each district must impose a minimum Basic property tax levy and contribute the proceeds of that levy to the cost of providing educational services. The more Basic Levy revenue collected, the less state funding–from the Uniform School Fund is required.
Property taxes are the main source of local funding and consist of the following:
Each year a school district board of education must decide what property taxes they will levy and whether or not they will need to increase the total dollars yielded from those six different tax rates over the prior year budgeted amount. Except for the Basic Tax Rate, the Debt Service Tax Rate and the Judgment Recovery Tax Rate, if the new budget year sum of the Certified Tax Rates* is more than the prior year, the district must go through the “truth in taxation” process.
The Certified Tax Rate is defined as the total rate that the school district would levy–excluding the Basic Tax Rate, the Debt Service Tax Rate and the Judgment Recovery Tax Rate–so that the district would receive the same dollars as was budgeted in the prior year, plus new growth.
Property taxes may be levied by the State of Utah and most of its political subdivisions, including counties, all cities and towns, all school districts and most special service districts. Authority levy depends upon enabling statutes.
School districts had the authority to levy thirteen different taxes to collect funds for the education of students. Effective January 1, 2012, there are only six tax rates a school district can levy.
School District Tax Levies Descriptions
Tax Levies in Effect After January 1, 2012
Estimated Assessed Valuations and Final School District Tax Rates
A list of the school districts’ estimated assessed valuations and their final tax rates.
The following references will help to further explain the taxing process for the school districts.
Payments in Lieu of Taxes (or PILT)
United States Department of Interior
Final Tax Rate Proceeds.
Estimated Tax Yield for Each School District
Estimated Assessed Valuations and Tax Rate Proceeds
Estimated Voted and Board Leeway
Redevelopment began in Utah in the mid 1960's with the Utah Community Development Act. Its original intent was to fund the revitalization of downtown areas of communities through Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Tax Increment Financing allows the tax dollars collected for a redevelopment project area that are in excess of a "base year" tax amount to be paid to the redevelopment agency for purposes of "alteration, improvement, modernization, reconstruction, or rehabilitation...of existing structures in a project area" rather than the taxing entities.
Statutes require that each year a certified tax rate be calculated. The certified tax rate is the rate which will provide the same amount of property tax revenue as was charged in the previous year, excluding the revenue generated by new growth. The Minimum School Program levy is exempt from the calculation of the certified tax rate.
If a school district determines that it needs greater revenues than what the certified tax rate will generate, statutes require that the entity must then go through a process referred to as Truth in Taxation. The Truth in Taxation statutes require an entity to go through a series of steps which include proper notification of the proposed tax increase to the tax payers and a public hearing.