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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 20, 2006 5:02 PM. The previous post in this blog was Will that be cash or trade?. The next post in this blog is About Officer Humphreys. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, October 20, 2006

Super Vicki does the math for you

Here's a press release that the Portland School Board issued today:

Portland Public School's property tax rate, at $5.28 per $1,000 of assessed value, is among the lowest being collected by 18 school districts in the Portland metro area.

Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties send property tax statements out in waves of mailing through mid-October, and bills continue to arrive in mailboxes across the area. Payments are due by November 15. The three counties have not formally published their rates, but preliminary information gathered from each county assessor's office yields this ranking for 18 tri-county school districts, from the highest to lowest school taxes:

1. West Linn-Wilsonville School District: $9.19
2. Newberg School District: $8.27
3. Tigard-Tualatin School District: $7.67
4. Corbett School District: $7.09
5. Sherwood School District $7.07
6. Lake Oswego School District: $7.03
7. Centennial School District: $6.96
8. Canby School District: $6.94
9. Riverdale School District: $6.91
10. David Douglas School District: $6.83
11. Gresham-Barlow School District: $6.75
12. North Clackamas School District: $6.56
13. Hillsboro School District: $6.52
14. Beaverton School District: $6.29
15. Parkrose School District: $6.26
16. Reynolds School District: $5.95
18. Scappoose School District: $5.17

All figures are for the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value, and include property taxes for operations, local option taxes were voters have approved them, and existing capital bonds. Some school districts levy capital bonds over only part of their territory (due to previous school district mergers and other complications), so tax rates may not be uniform across the school district.

In Portland Public Schools, the median house is assessed at $123,630 (half are assessed at higher values, half lower) and has a "real market value" of $240,660. The typical homeowner thus is paying $653 in schools property taxes for PPS this year, or about $54 a month.

PPS TAX BACKGROUND: Portland Public School's property tax rates dropped by close to 30 percent last year, in the greatest part because of the end of two voter-approved tax levies: The five-year local option property tax voters approved in 2000, and the 10-year capital bond levy voters approved in 1995. In 2005-06, PPS taxpayers paid a rate of $4.77 per $1,000, the lowest among these 18 metro school districts.

This year, Portland Public Schools' tax rate rose by 50 cents, as the School Board renewed the gap authorization levy, as allowed by action of the Oregon Legislature during the spring 2006 special session.

LOOKING FORWARD: Future tax rates will depend on voters' decisions in the November 2006 election. Six of these 18 school districts are asking voters to approve capital bonds to buy land and to renovate or build schools (Beaverton, David Douglas, Hillsboro, North Clackamas, Reynolds and Sherwood). Portland Public Schools has a local option operating levy on the ballot (at $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed value, it would cost the typical homeowner $155 a year or less than $13 a month). If the PPS local option were in place during the current year, the tax rate of $6.53 would place PPS at 6th lowest among these 18 districts.

Fair enough. Of course, the timing of this public service is interesting....

Comments (17)

Ballots showed up here in SW PDX today, in the A.M.

They are back in the mail to Mult Co. Two No votes on PDX schools; Mult o. Library, and Metro Opwen Spaces bonds.

Held our noses and voted Yes on the PDX Police and Fire package, just t get the new hires into PERS. Its an application of the First Law of Holes -- When in one, stop digging.

Is the timing interesting because it's on a Friday afternoon? Or because it's getting closer to election time? If it's the former, I don't understand how it helps the district. I hope it's the latter, simply because folks need to put things in perspective, or at least get a factual sense of things, rather than relying on tired assumptions.

I hear crickets from the anti-tax-and-union-everything crowd...

I think (hope) that if the data had been available earlier, we'd have had it earlier. I can't imagine why it would have been held until now, to be honest.

And when I say 'we', I say the 26-84 campaign, including the hordes of people phone banking in support of the local option. I'd heard that PPS were lower on average than most of the surrounding districts (and said as much when I spoke to voters on the phone last night from the campaign offices), but would have appreciated specifics, even if they're preliminary (as these are.)

What I meant was, it's obviously meant to influence the vote on the school tax measure. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I don't recall the district bringing us all up to speed on our tax burden when our tax ranking was higher, or when a ballot measure wasn't on the table.

I was happy when I got to the end and saw that at least they projected where we will be if the measure passes. Omitting that detail would have been truly disingenuous.

I used to work for a beer distributor and we could walk into fred meyer or safeway or any other corporate retail office and show them the latest SKU's for our product. Providing them with factual numbers we could justify Henry's having so much space etc.The problem is that Budweiser and miller could come in with the same numbers and justify them having more space on the shelf how does this work? Spin

We should not be asking how much to tax ourselves for our children but what does it cost to educate them. Portland public schools spends over $11,000 per child per year.

Somebody give me a number that you think we need to educate these kids and stop taxing out of conveniance

That should just about cover for the cost of the firing of the janitors. The auditor that had dreamed up the notion that there were two different sets of state labor bargaining laws, one for janitors and an entirely different one for the teachers, should get some sort of raspberry award. My one appearance before the board, at a budget hearing, was to note that their treatment of the janitors could be likened to what the district could do to all the teachers; refuse to bargain and contract out all the services.

The district couldn't very well say today that if the measure fails that they will have to fire some teachers, or reduce the salary scale, to make back-pay awards to the fired janitors. Even though the savings from the firings had resulted in higher budget resources for teacher pay at that earlier time.

Be nice to the janitors.

Sorry, I don't like the 'product' that PPS turns out. I don't like the way the money is spent and I don't like what is taught or the way things are taught. Until they get back to the basics and stop the indoctrination; until I can get the average high school graduate who is looking for a job and can tell me by mental math what 4 X 9 is (no calculators allowed) - I won't vote for another dime to go to the schools.


The problem is that the basics are all that's left... advanced education programs, special education, groundskeeping, band, choir, sports, debate, intro business classes, metal shop, etc... they've all been cut or cut back in the last 10 years.

These are the programs that the boomers enjoyed when in school, and their parents before them. I guess these folks, who run the school boards and make up a majority of voters, are responsible for this double standard. Is this fact lost on you?

"Portland Public School's property tax rate, at $5.28 per $1,000 of assessed value, is among the lowest being collected by 18 school districts in the Portland metro area."

Comparing "rates" is superficial and misleading as Portland has a larger property base to apply that "rate" to for purposes of deriving the district's total revenue. It would be fare more informative to show us the amount of money raised per student with the "rates".

Deception creates reasonable doubt.

Gus wrote:

"Comparing "rates" is superficial and misleading as Portland has a larger property base to apply that "rate" to for purposes of deriving the district's total revenue. It would be fare more informative to show us the amount of money raised per student with the 'rates'."

A better comparison than amount raised per student would be amount soent per student. The PPS all funds budget divided by the number of PPS students yields a annual per student exenditure in excess of $ 11,000.00 this year. Thats more than the tuition at either Catlin Gabel or Jesuit.

And the dirty little secret that PPS doesn't want you to know is that that amount (all funds budget divided by student census) has increased every year for the last 10 years.

PPS wants "stable funding"? I think that is a wonderful idea. If rigorously applied, it means that the too long suffering taxpayers in the PPS district are due a large refund from PPS on this year's propery tax bill.

"The PPS all funds budget divided by the number of PPS students yields a annual per student exenditure in excess of $ 11,000.00 this year. Thats more than the tuition at either Catlin Gabel or Jesuit."

That's about right for Jesuit and St Mary's, but not even close to Catlin. High School tuition there exceeds the $20,000 per year mark, as it does at Oregon Episcopal. Trust me, I know 'cuz I have a kid at one of those schools. If you took the all schools budget for OES and Catlin, divided by the number of students, you'd get an annual per student expenditure far in excess of PPS. Comparing St Marys or Jesuit to the PPS is misleading off the top since they are only high schools. OES and Catlin are K-12 schools and are the only direct comparators among the privates to PPS, LO, Riverdale, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin.


Property tax bills have been mailed out over the last couple weeks, so folks are paying their property taxes (our household statement came on Thursday). I've been itching to get the numbers out for over a week, but only Multnomah County directly provided us at Portland Public Schools with the tax rates K-12 districts were levying, so we had to call around to Multnomah and Clackamas counties for the rest (those counties will probably put the rates out officially next week). As soon as I got the numbers and had a chance I got them out to our email lists.

Last October (my first with the school district) I also put out a release when property taxes came out. Plan to do the same next year . . .

As for the custodians, this posting needs a comment! "The auditor that had dreamed up the notion that there were two different sets of state labor bargaining laws, one for janitors and an entirely different one for the teachers, should get some sort of raspberry award."

Actually, there IS a separate state law for janitors -- it's the 1937 Custodial Civil Service Law, and it applies to school custodians in cities of a certain size. It was tailor-made to apply ONLY to Portland Public Schools, and any time it's about to apply to a district like Beaverton, the Legislature has changed the law to up the size requirement.

The School Board won a ruling from the Employee Relations Board before contracting out, but the Oregon Supreme Court had the final say. And now about 120 of the custodians have returned to work in our schools. . . with more new employees to be hired soon.

Sarah Carlin Ames
PPS Communications

The ERB case and the SC case did not touch on the full panoply of issues and claims that could have, and should have, been raised. One is an equal privileges and immunities clause violation. There is a reason why police and fire personal must go to arbitration rather than strike, due to their importance, but such a distinction could not be made for janitors as compared to teachers. There is only the notion of "certification" that is a requirement for teachers; which would be easily overcome by the state creation of a certification scheme for janitors.

I do not favor the tailoring of laws to fit one interest group against another. There remain many unresolved blatant assaults on elementary notions of egalitarianism throughout the statutes.

Be nice to the janitors.

Be nice too to the dancers that keep video poker players happy -- they can't even get a minimum wage nor demand a theoretical living wage. The NEA, meanwhile, wants a national minimum wage, specific only to teachers. Why not a general law for everyone under a common set of rules?

The existence of a codebased distinction to treat someone less than another might be an excuse for compliance if it were a mandatory imposition but where it remains a voluntary choice to avail oneself of the option to be a dick then it should not result in any expression that remotely resembles glee.

Be nice to the janitors. But, make sure that you do not say that PPS is FORCED to treat them as less, that falls squarely on the shoulders of the PPS board . . . who were rather gleeful at the savings that they claimed to have achieved so as to deliver the cash to another class of folks, and proudly use it as an example for public announcements and celebration about how they are controlling costs.

Hi Ron.

The NEA has called for a national minimum wage for teachers. $40,000 per year... or about half a day's pay for most CEO's in America.

Or, seen another way, half of what the average architect or engineer makes after six years of college and two college degrees and some licensing tests.

Be nice to the teachers, Ron.


Not all residents of Portland are CEO's.

I am a teacher . . . as I see you are paying attention.

In the absence of government sanctioned monopoly (increasing concentration and centralization of power) goods and services would tend toward pricing that offers at best a reasonable return. I'm not meaning public schools here but more generally. Nader had it right, two heads of a snake -- the Ds and Rs tolerate the extraction of monopolistic rent from the general public and then divyy up the rewards amongst the dominant political interest groups.

Here's one for you -- let's do away with the special lower tax rates for so-called capital gains, so long as the money supply is tweaked to always go up so as to assure that capital gains (from the consequent unearned asset price inflation) always exceeds capital losses, in aggregate. Would that be more narrowly tailored to hit the intended target of CEOs rather than the victims of their economic rent extractions (you and your neighbors and me)?

All things are relative. And it is I alone who argues that aggregate wage increases that do not keep pace with the increase in effective money supply (adjusted for population) of roughly 8 percent per year (conservatively) is a net reduction of wage income, inclusive of teachers.

Any bargain between the NEA and CEOs is like a bargain with the devil, for it is dismissive of everyone else that is not a party to the bargain.

Again, be nice to the janitors.

Daphne, you are wrong that teachers "after six years of college..." make half of what architects make with simlar education and experience. AIA and other architectural organizations can vouch for this, and I can too as an architect.

"The NEA has called for a national minimum wage for teachers. $40,000 per year."

Does that cover public and private school teachers? Does it include the employer's cost for fringe benefits?


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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
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L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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