Saturday, August 4, 2018

JPS Gets More Property Taxes Than Ever

This post was originally published on June 26.  Consider it a PSA for Jackson voters.

The Jackson Public School District hauled in a record amount of property taxes in 2017 even though student enrollment continued to decline.   The annual audit states that JPS collected $95.4 million in property taxes while  enrollment fell to 26,206 students. The chart below shows property taxes that fund JPS increased from $78.7 million in 2007 to $95.4 million in 2017 - an increase of 21%. 

Meanwhile, the student population declined 16% as it fell from 31,191 students in 2007 to 26,206 students in 2018.

JJ created a new statistic last year: Annual property tax revenue per student.  It rose $1,117 since 2007, an increase of 44%.

There are those who claim that JPS suffers because it is not a so-called "wealthy" school district.  Maybe so but JPS collects more property tax revenue that it ever has and more than any other school district in Mississippi.

These figures are somewhat at odds with a rather foolish column written by the Executive Director of Operation Shoestring and published in the Clarion-Ledger last year.  One excerpt spells out the myths told about JPS:

JPS is reckoning with decades of systematic disinvestment in it and its community. On top of that, JPS has to cope with extremely high rates of family poverty among its students, a declining tax base that affects school funding and, correspondingly, aging and dilapidated capital infrastructure. In short, the odds have been stacked against them for a while. Column.

JPS already has the highest millage rate in the Jackson metro area.  It collected more property taxes than any other public school district in Mississippi and collects more per student than similar-sized public school districts?  Where exactly is the disinvestment mentioned in Robert Langford's column? He finished his column with this advice:

 I urge you to think hard about how we, with all of Jackson’s challenges and opportunities, ensure that we can build a school system and a community that keeps children safe and provides them a top-quality education so they can realize their dreams and potential.
 Perhaps it is Mr. Langford who should try some actual thinking.  There is one word that is not mentioned in his column that operated on a shoestring of facts: accountability.  Only 38% of the employees at JPS are teachers. Meanwhile 55% of the employees at Desoto and 50% at Rankin are teachers.  Their central office staff is a fraction of the nearly thousand employees that populate the JPS central office.  Then there is the kicker: JPS spends $2,000 per student more than Desoto.  Mr. Langford never seems to mention anything about holding the leaders of JPS accountable for anything.  However, it's easier to insult the community than actually examine the facts and think.

Keep this post in mind when deciding whether to support the $65 million school bond referendum.

Kingfish note: The numbers get even worse when compared to Desoto County Public Schools.


Anonymous said...

Money not going to the kids. Money going administrators of JPS.
Feel Bryant had his chance to help the kids by taking over JPS.
No telling what would be uncovered if he did.
To late he dropped the ball
& the only people who suffer are the kids.
More the pity.

Anonymous said...

This is on Phil Bryant’s hands. He had an opportunity to make s difference, but he did not have the guts or leadership to do so.

Anonymous said...

It makes perfect sense when looking at JPS as little more than a jobs program for local college graduates. I think the administration-class is so entrenched in Jackson that we don't even question that the problem is anything other than a lack of funding. So, we throw more money at it, and nothing gets better.

Anonymous said...

The history of the JPS decline and these budget/tax numbers simply do not lie. The governor made a strategic decision by letting JPS go its own way to save their failed district. This "better together" (BT) effort will generate false hope, contain the JPS problems and ineptitude without letting them spread to other neighboring districts, and it will permit JPS to continue to fail in the long term -- failure that has been and will be due to inept, corrupt city and district leadership. When the dust settles and the failure continues, none of the BT advocates in Jackson will be able to say "... you didn't let us do what we wanted or needed to do to save JPS ...". That's when a successful takeover can occur. Too bad the kids, parents, and taxpayers will continue to suffer until that happens...

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, you mentioned claims of JPS suffering "because it is not a so-called 'wealthy school' district".

I've heard this same claim from several people, but I've yet to get an explanation of how this phenomena works. Every time I see per student numbers they contradict this statement. All statistics show the wealthiest districts have the lowest per student spending and the poorest districts have the highest.

In an article from the Hechinger Report (a decidedly left leaning organization), Mississippi is in fact listed as spending more on poorer schools, just as every number I've ever seen suggests.

Per-student funding for the 2014-15 school year:
All districts: $9,352
Low-poverty districts (wealthiest quartile): $8,847
Upper middle districts (second wealthiest quartile): $9,275
Lower-middle districts (second poorest quartile): $9,812
High-poverty districts (poorest quartile): $10,213
Percent difference in funds between wealthiest and highest poverty districts: 13.4

I would genuinely like to know where the numbers are to support constant claims that we are somehow short-changing poor students.

PittPanther said...

3:25pm, I have never been successful in getting a documented answer to that question.
In every case, the person I ask starts talking about "these kids have more problems so we have to hire social services people." But again, there's never any quantitative analysis, it just "sounds correct" so everyone believes it.

Anonymous said...

JPS is a Black owned enterprise. It is by blacks and for blacks. If Feelbert took it over, they would screech about it not getting better because he took it over. The administrators, teachers, students and their parents are plenty happy with it in its current form. Any lack they have is blamed on white folks keeping them down and there is nothing to be done about it. They are not responsible for making it better since they are not responsible for the shape it is in.

Anonymous said...

3:25, "we" (taxpayers) are NOT shortchanging Jackson students.

JPS leadership is short changing them. They take the tax dollars we intended for the classroom, and they spend it on themselves instead.

Then when they burn through it all, they take pictures of the falling apart pathetic buildings and demand another $100 million or so.

They never mention that they allocated less than one half of one percent of funds for maintenance. The funds were there, but they were spent on administrator salaries and benefits.

I'm a big believer in education, but I'm not supporting ANY more tax increases until JPS administration is downsized significantly, and at least half of funds received are spent in the classroom! Half is not too much to ask!!

Anonymous said...

Check out those Swiss and Cayman Island bank accounts.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, do you or anyone on this blog actually care about educating black children? Do you mentor in the schools?

Anonymous said...

Salaries are public record. JPS has administrative salaries that blow the rest of the state's districts out of the water. For example, a school counselor is paid $129,000 annual salary. That's the problem with JPS - it's a money grab for those at the top, all the while the perfomance level of students doesn't reflect the amount of money thrown at those in charge of the schools.

Anonymous said...

Of course we care, as does KF, but it isn't our responsibility. We all want all kids to grow up and be positive contributors to society.

Education is the responsibility of the parent(s), not a blog or blog participants. Oh wait, where are the parents? So it then is the responsibility of auntie or grandma.

Anonymous said...

This is great news! Now the underperforming schools at JPS can finally get the resources they need to help students at risk!

Anonymous said...

Oh the higher ups at Butler snow won't mind this. They live in NE Jackson and fatten there pockets while doing so. Taxpayer bailouts... government contracts are really a nice word for government services. These people that support this are all idiots. Read nextdoor Fondren and try to say a negative word and you will be shamed by some loon that sends all 3 of there kids to prep or St. Andrews. It's madness... I guess it's the guilt that they carry for whatever reason as to why they support this.

Anonymous said...

I mentor just as many JPS students as I do Madison, Rankin and DeSoto students. Better question, how many JPS students are mentored in the free time of the school counselors making $129k?

If Bryant had taken over JPS he would have been branded as the biggest bigot since Byron de la Beckwith. The efforts to fix the issues would have been fought at every turn. Lumumba's head would explode.

Anonymous said...

I talked to someone who knows and he said this will be the last educational increase the city will need for a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

9:32, when he refers to a long long time does he really mean until next year? Lay 3,000 JPS employees off and see how it changes. The scores will remain but the financial bleeding stops. It’s useless and mind numbing as to how it got this way. But if we say anything we are labeled racists.

Anonymous said...

Either you are laying on some heavy sarc, or, you are the most naive moron that's posted here for a looooong time.

Anonymous said...

@8:57 AM - "White guilt" is a form of racism. It keeps minorities dependent on the man.

Give a man a fish...

Plain ol' Catfish said...

Perhaps it is Mr. Langford who should try some actual thinking. There is one word that is not mentioned in his column that operated on a shoestring of facts: accountability. Only 38% of the employees at JPS are teachers.

I can't argue with that Kingfish. JPS has the funds, its just so damn top-heavy and no one wants to come out and say it. District lines need to be redrawn. The focus should be on teachers, not administrators.

Anonymous said...

I just put my house in Jackson on the market. Hello Madison!

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS