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Property taxes cover only 20% of budget for Manteca USD
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October is when property bills are  mailed.

If your assessed value — which is not interchangeable with the market value unless you bought the property before the rolls were closed for the tax year — is $400,000, just under $2,020  will go to the Manteca Unified School District.

Altogether, MUSD will receive $54.1 million from property taxes collected from property owners within the district’s boundaries for the current school year.

It’s a fallacy for those who believe local property taxes cover the cost of running the district that is closing in on 25,000 students. Local property taxes account for only 20 percent of the money needed for general fund education expenses that aren’t restricted funds received from the state and federal governments that must be spent for specific purposes.

This year Sacramento — through calculations that are part of the Local Control Funding Formula — will send MUSD a projected $270.3 million. That reflects an overall general fund budget of $324.4 million.

The biggest source of money for K-12 schools in California?

“(It’s) the top 1 percent of taxpayers,” noted Victoria Brunn, who serves as the Manteca Unified Chief Business and Information Officer.

And the bulk of the income the state gleans from the top tier taxpayers is in the form of capital gains taxes. They are one-time taxes on “windfall gains” such as selling stock or highly valued property such as buildings that house distribution centers.

Although the top 1 percent — corporate and individual taxpayers — fork over taxes on a regular income like everyone else, capital gains are one-time taxes that aren’t collected unless financial holdings are sold and are done so at a value higher than what they were acquired.

And while property taxes prior to passage of Proposition 13 accounted for the majority of money needed to operate California school districts, it hasn’t been the exclusive source of funding since the modern state school system took hold in the 1930s.

The district  received the biggest chunk of local property tax payments or just under 51 percent.

The basic tax rate is 1 percent of the assessed value. On a  Manteca home within the city limits with a $400,000 assessed value, that is $4,000. The remaining 49 percent is split in various amounts in descending order with San Joaquin County 22 percent, the city, Delta College, South San Joaquin Irrigation District and a myriad of small task-specific government agencies with the smallest cut going to mosquito abetment.

There are add-ons beyond the basic tax rate such as $280 to pay for retirement of school bonds and — spending upon where your home is located — other community facilities district fees and specific voter approved taxes such as special assessment for flood control, vector control, and ground water.

In the unaudited actuals — one of numerous reports school districts need to file annually to assure transparency and to make sure money is being spent properly — that was presented to the school board last month, you can get a sense of the scope of the district’s operations.

Tidbits gleaned for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 are as follows:

*There were 1,331.2 certified staff  (teachers), up  from 1,239.7 the previous year.

*There were 2,458.1 positions overall including vacancies, up from 2,266.6 the previous year.

*Of the 2,458.1 positions, there were 132 classified and certificated administrators and supervisors, down from 132.4 the previous year.

*Salaries and benefits accounted for 77.8 percent of all expenditures.

*In overall funding of $340.5 million, only 2.9 percent came from property taxes as opposed to the 1 in 5 dollars in the general fund that pays for basic day-to-day programs and operations as opposed to specific add-on programs such as English learning, special education, reading recovery, migrant education and other endeavors targeting students with specific needs.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email