Your tax dollars support education

Your tax dollars support education
Posted on 02/05/2020
In elementary school we all learned about the four seasons of the year; Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. For us Missourians, the seasons bring their own bit of individuality with them. Springtime brings warming weather, rainy days and nights, Cardinals baseball, green grass and budding flowers. Summer brings the heat, days at the pool and summer vacations. In the Fall the leaves begin to change, the night air chills and students return to school. Winter brings snow, sometimes ice, the Super Bowl, and TAXES!

As an adult, if I were asked to name the seasons, I might reply, Spring, Summer, Fall and Tax season. Tax season is much longer than the other seasons. We receive our property tax bills in the mail some time in November, way before the first official day of Winter, and then we have until April 15 to pay our federal and state taxes, almost a full month into Spring. Tax season doesn’t get a lot of love as far as seasons go. I’ve heard at least one person claim to love Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, but I’ve never heard anyone proclaim adoration for tax season (maybe an accountant now and then).  

While for the most part, people don’t like paying taxes, they provide the lifeblood for many of the essential services that we enjoy as citizens of this community, state, and nation. With the exception of the interest earned on district balances, a few donations, admission fees to activities, and payments for school breakfast and lunch at the high school, all the money that Mexico Public Schools spends to educate and provide opportunities to our students come from some taxing entity. The district budget is made up of some combination of local, state, and federal funding. Districts across the state have varying proportions of each based upon need and available local assessed value. For example, some districts generate so much local revenue due to the high assessed value that they require very little support from the State budget. Likewise, a district may receive more Federal money because it has a high population of English Learners or a high percentage of students who qualify for Free or Reduced priced meals. In the Mexico Public School District we receive $15,077,200 from some form of local taxes, $9,268,500 from the State of Missouri, and $2,776,700 from the Federal Department of Education. There is an additional $900,000 of budgeted revenue that does not come from taxes. If you do the math, you will see that 97% of the money used to educate and operate the school district comes from some level of taxation.

So what do you get for those dollars? Approximately 70% of the district’s expenditures are used to pay salary and benefits to employees. The remaining funds pay for supplies, utilities, contracted services, fuel for buses, etc. All of the money spent by the district serves to advance our mission of supporting the needs of students. We want to attract quality teachers, so we try to employ a competitive salary and benefit package. We want students to have access to technology and other learning materials, so we continually invest in the infrastructure of our network and the purchase of new devices and learning materials. We want our students to have opportunities beyond the classroom so we spend money on athletics, music, drama, clubs, and organizations to teach students many valuable character traits. At the end of the day, we want our community to believe that their tax money is providing a valuable service to society. I believe that we are. So when you file your taxes, keep in mind the services that they provide to you and to your community, state, and nation as we continuously fulfill the Mexico 59 mission of teaching, learning, and caring.