Per pupil funding at Clark County School District
Clark County School District (CCSD) has announced that it faces a budget shortfall of $60 million. In a recent memo, CCSD wrote, “Over the past few years, the revenue increases we have received from the state, from county property taxes and from the sales tax have not allowed us to keep up with our rising employee costs and other increasing expenses.” This infographic looks at the budget and per pupil funding over time.
The primary funding mechanism for K-12 education is called the Nevada Plan, which includes State and local revenue. Each school district has its own basic support guarantee per pupil, which varies substantially throughout Nevada. The statewide basic support guarantee increased from $5,676 in fiscal year (FY) 2015 to $5,897 in FY 2018, an increase of 3.9 percent in current dollars (and 1.7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars).
Each school district’s guarantee is calculated based on historical costs. Smaller school districts have higher basic support guarantees than larger districts due to proportionally higher fixed costs. This figure shows the change in the basic support guarantee for each school district from FY 2015 to FY 2018.
While the guarantee increased for all school districts, five school districts experienced growth rates equal to or less than the average state growth rate: Clark County (4 percent), Lincoln County (4 percent), Lyon County (3 percent) Mineral and Storey County (0 percent) and Washoe County (2 percent). The basic support guarantee in Clark County increased from $5,527 in FY 2015 to $5,700 in FY 2018, an increase of 3.1 percent. In Washoe County School District, the basic support guarantee increased from $5,582 in FY 2015 to $5,677 in FY 2018, an increase of 2 percent.
While the basic support guarantee is the largest funding source in each district’s unrestricted General Fund, school districts also receive local tax revenue outside of the basic support guarantee.
The General Fund is the main operating fund of a school district. Categorical funds for special programs such as special education, class size reduction, and Zoom Schools are outside of the General Fund. This figure illustrates Clark County School District’s General Fund revenue from State and local taxes from FY 2012 through FY 2019 (budget). Only a portion of local tax revenue goes towards the basic support guarantee and the remainder is outside the guarantee. The local revenues inside the guarantee are: (a) 1/3 of property tax revenue; (b) 1/3 of net proceeds of minerals revenue; and (c) the Local School Support Tax. The remaining revenue sources are outside of the guarantee. The largest revenue source outside the guarantee is 2/3 of the property tax revenue.
This figure reveals that Clark County School District’s per pupil revenue from State and local taxes has increased from $6,525 in FY 2015 to $6,783 in FY 2018. This represents an increase of 4.0 percent. However, controlling for inflation, the increase is only 1.9 percent. The basic support guarantee to Clark County has only increased 3.1 percent over the period FY 2015 to FY 2018 (0.9 percent in inflation adjusted dollars), while student enrollment has grown 5 percent over the same period.
This figure compares basic support per pupil to total State and local General Fund tax revenue per pupil from FY 2012 to FY 2018. In FY 2012, revenue per pupil in CCSD was $6,171 and in FY 2018, it was $6,783, an increase of 10 percent. The basic support guarantee in CCSD increased from $5,136 in FY 2012 to $5,700 in FY 2018, an increase of 11 percent.
This figure presents state and federal categorical funds per pupil by school district for FY 2014 and FY 2016. While state and federal categorical funds per pupil have increased over this period in CCSD, Clark County has a lower categorical fund per pupil amount than most of the districts in Nevada. In FY 2014, CCSD receieved $1,236 in state and federal categorical funds per pupil, and in FY 2016, the district received $1,343 in categorical funds per pupil, an increase of 9 percent. In FY 2016, Washoe County School District received $1,615 in state and federal categorical funds per pupil, and White Pine School District received $2,714 in categorical funds per pupil.
The state average in FY 2016 was $1,418 in categorical funds per pupil. Five school districts receive less than the state average in categorical funds per pupil: Douglas, Clark, Humboldt, Lander, and Lincoln.
This table reveals the State disbursement to Clark County School District for programs during FY 2017 and FY 2018. In FY 2018, CCSD will receive $34 million as part of Senate Bill 178 (weighted funding formula) and $17 million to enhance the district’s Human Capital Management System (HCMS).