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After being at a conference last week (and finishing Nickel and Dimed), I'm just now getting a chance to look over the mid-term. I'd like to write my initial response to question #1 regarding property tax revenues:

Public education is funded by state, federal, and local dollars. After the Leandro lawsuit, Judge Manning's job is to ensure LEAs are funded adequately, not equally ... and they are not funded equally because property values are not the same across North Carolina.

The average tax rate in NC is .60 per $100 evaluation. If every county had this rate, Rich County's evaluations would be higher because their property values are higher than Poor County's. This is why Rich County's schools are newer and nicer than the ones across the county line. The question has been raised, "Why doesn't Poor County tax at a higher rate?" Statistics show that Poor County does tax at a higher rate (the ten most property rich counties tax at an average of .41 per $100 while the ten most property poor tax at .76 per $100), but since it's based on percentage of property value, Rich County still yields more. This shows just how big the variance of property values can be.

The variance in funding doesn't just affect capital expenditures (maintenance and construction) - it also affects other monetary rewards such as salary supplements and signing bonuses. Where is a fresh-out-of-college teacher education graduate going to teach - Forsyth County with a signing bonus and 10% salary supplement (I'm guessing here - this figure may not be that high or it may not be high enough!) or neighboring Stokes County, whose property taxes do not allow for such bonuses or supplements? That's easy. Furthermore, the "best and brightest" who are willing and able to relocate anywhere in the state may choose the district with the newest, nicest facilities. Who wouldn't?

Ashe County's tax rate was .58 per $100 in 2003. Since the tax rate is about 75% of the purchase value, a house purchased for $200,000 has a tax rate of $150,000. That's 1500 $100's. Calculating 58 cents per $100, that's $870 of taxes per year. If you look at a real estate book in Ashe County, it's evident that most properties being sold are at this amount and higher. It's actually quite average (small houses are going for this now - our advantage is pretty mountain scenery that is coveted by developers).

Compare this with a county that is flat, ugly, and has industries closing every year. The average house price may be $120,000 (just a guess). To make up, the county commissioners may increase the tax rate to .76 per $100. Do the math - it's $684 per year. They're paying a higher tax rate than Ashe County, but the schools get less money.

Take a look at houses and land in your county. What does property look like?

This is my first time assessing this concept. Dr. Turner, please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Rena Powers


Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:48 pm
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I had a very similar reaction to the first question. Much of my thoughts on this matter came from the notes I took in class; however, after thinking about it for awhile, I think I have a big picture understanding of the situation. The schools in the wealthier counties will always have more money because the property values in these counties are greater. Even though the adverage person's tax rate in this county may be lower than the tax rate in a poor county. They weathier counties will bring in more money overall. What is unfortunate is that the people in the poor counties may be contributing a higher tax rate, but the money they can generate is not enough. The people who can't afford it are taxing themselves to a greater extent - and their schools are still not as good as the schools in the wealthier counties.

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April Eichmiller


Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:41 am
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THANKS GUYS!!!! I was having such a hard time with that - and it was the simplest thing I was overlooking. I knew that the low income counties are taxed so much more excessively than the rich, but I couldn't think enough to tie in the fact that the rich counties have a higher property value! Duh! Sorry to be stupid, thanks for joggin my memory!

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Nicki Boyette


Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:39 pm
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No problem - that's what we're here for! I'd like to hear someone's perspective on Binet and how IQ testing indicates (or doesn't indicate) a child's innate intelligence.

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Rena Powers


Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:12 pm
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Ok, so I was reading the question for the 2 arguments against tracking, and all my thoughts about why tracking is bad kind of attacked me, so I'm having problems seperating them into 2 specific "arguments". We don't like tracking because it labels children and doesn't provide the same educational opportunites for everyone. It sets kids up for poor achievement, if you've been told you're not smart enough to be in the honors track - that vocational is all you'll ever be good enough for, then a track of low achievement is assigned to you, often times based on race and socioeconomic status. Am I close? I mean, I know that's why we don't like it, but are those 2 seperate ideas?

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Nicki Boyette


Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:57 pm
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Sounds like 2 separate ideas to me. Another thing to consider is that teaching students a particular subject/particular class in homogeneous groups may not be a bad thing as long as the groups are fluid and flexible, allowing students to move from one group to another as they progress. This requires GREAT attention from the teacher and also a willingness to be flexible. They must also realize their biases and prejudices and make an effort to not discriminate. I have seen this done beautifully in elementary school with reading groups ... then again, I've seen it done very badly in some cases. It all comes down to genuinely caring about each student and being fair.

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Rena Powers


Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:31 am
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