4024 Virginia AV
Shoreview, MN 55126
September 24, 2003
The Summer 2003 issue of the Mounds View District’s “School Talk” quotes a February 14, 2003 Forbes article quoting Ruth Kennedy. “…Property values can vary as much as 30 to 40 percent based on the local school district.” Ms. Kennedy is a principle of Land Vest, Inc., a New England firm focusing on “…land, estates and high quality homes…” A review of www.landvest.com indicates that the typical $200,000 home doesn’t make the cut for Landvest, who’s market is characterized by homes in the $1,000,000+ range. The context of that quote is that property values can be influenced positively in communities with strong local schools and ivy league colleges. Counter to the School Talk quote, it’s unlikely that the results of the upcoming levy will affect your $200,000 home’s value by 30-40% one way or another.
The Forbes article also references a January 2003 paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research which “…found that for every $1 increase in state aid spending per pupil, property values increased $20 in aggregate per pupil housing.” Let’s assume for a minute that our upcoming levy is in fact state aid. The levy will add $533 per student to the district. Using that 20:1 ratio, our property value could rise approximately $10,000, or only 5%, not 30-40% on that mythical $200,000 home. But of course it’s not from state aid, but money directly from the resident’s pockets, as was the previous levy currently in force. In a sense you are buying the increase in market value.
While there can be no doubt that families with school-age children would select a district with better schools if similar housing choices and costs were available, we should also ask if that same family would choose a Mounds View District home if local at-risk levies were a significant portion of per pupil funding. Home buyers without school-age children are likely to choose a home with lower rather than higher taxes, given similar non-education comparables.
Education funding decisions need to be made on the basis of true need and measurable outcomes. A focus on ‘market values’ diverts our attention from the fundamental equal educational opportunities that all Minnesota children deserve, regardless of the market values of their district’s homes or the ability to pass or fail a levy.