COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
July 11, 2012
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
The 2010 General Assembly amended Section 58.1-638, Code of Virginia, eliminating the triennial census of all school-age persons residing within each school division as the basis for distributing the one and one-eighth percent sales tax revenues dedicated to public education to school divisions, effective with fiscal year 2013. The 2008 triennial census count was used for the distribution of sales tax through fiscal year 2012.
Pursuant to Section 58.1-638, the triennial census was replaced with an annual estimate of the school-age population prepared by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. Weldon Cooper Center school-age population estimates will be used as the basis for distributing sales tax revenues to school divisions beginning in fiscal year 2013. Section 58.1-638 of the Code of Virginia can be found at: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+58.1-638.
The Weldon Cooper Center’s initial estimates of school-age population as of July 1, 2010, were released on July 8, 2011; please see Superintendent’s Memo No. 186-11 for more information (http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2011/186-11.shtml). These school-age population estimates were used in the initial 2012-2014 biennial budget (Chapter 3, 2012 Special Session I Acts of Assembly) for both fiscal year 2013 and 2014, pending the availability of the July 1, 2011, estimates to be used for fiscal year 2014. The estimates used for fiscal year 2014 will be updated as required by the Chapter 3 budget.
The school-age population estimates are updated by the Weldon Cooper Center annually for the purpose of distributing sales tax revenues to school divisions on a budgeted and actual basis. The 2012-2014 appropriation act (i.e., Chapter 3) establishes which annual estimate of school-age population is used for the distribution of sales tax revenues in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Pursuant to the Chapter 3 budget, the July 1, 2010, population estimates will be used to distribute fiscal year 2013 sales tax revenues, and the July 1, 2011, population estimates will be used to distribute fiscal year 2014 sales tax revenues. The fiscal year 2014 sales tax distribution will be amended to reflect the July 1, 2011, estimates as part of the Governor’s budget amendments to be released in December 2012.
Weldon Cooper Center School-Age Population Estimates as of July 1, 2011
A data file containing the July 1, 2011, school-age population estimate for each division (including the special education counts) and a document providing an overview of the methodology used by the Weldon Cooper Center in producing the estimates were released today and are now available on the Weldon Cooper Center Web site at: http://www.coopercenter.org/demographics/virginia-population-estimates#scape.
Weldon Cooper Center’s initial estimates of school-age population (5 to 19 year olds) are estimates as of July 1, 2011, and utilize U.S. Census Bureau population estimates as of July 1, 2011, with adjustments to account for 18 and 19 year olds living at a college or on a military base outside the locality where their parents/guardians reside as required by the Code. Please note the change in methodology used by the Weldon Cooper Center in the July 1, 2011, estimates to address the 18 and 19 year old college and military populations. Pursuant to Section 58.1-638 D., the Department added the number of special education students ages 2 through 4 and 20 through 21 as reported on the December 1, 2011, special education child count to the Weldon Cooper Center’s estimates. The Weldon Cooper Center provides a full description of their methodology on their Web site.
The July 1, 2011, school-age population estimates will be used to update the fiscal year 2014 sales tax revenue distribution estimates beginning with the Governor’s proposed amendments to the 2012-2014 biennial budget, to be released in December 2012. The sales tax revenue distribution for fiscal year 2013 will continue to be based on the previously released July 1, 2010, school-age population estimates. Local funding distributions for fiscal year 2014 based on the July 1, 2011, school-age population estimates will not be released until the Governor’s budget release in December.
Weldon Cooper Center Review Process
The July 1, 2011, estimates are open to review and inquiry until October 1, 2012. School divisions and localities may inquire about a revision to their estimates provided certain circumstances as established by the Weldon Cooper Center are met.
To participate in the review process, division and locality representatives should review their school-age population estimates, the methodology documents, the Quick Guide/FAQs, and the Review/Inquiry Process description, available on the Cooper Center Web site at: http://www.coopercenter.org/demographics/virginia-population-estimates#scape.
School division and locality representatives are urged to initiate the review and inquiry process (if any of the conditions for revision are met) by contacting the Weldon Cooper Center as soon as possible so that additional considerations are submitted by the conclusion of the process on October 1, 2012. After this date, the estimates will be considered final and will be used in fiscal year 2014 to allocate to localities the 1.125 percent state sales and use tax dedicated to public education.
The Weldon Cooper Center contact for questions is:
Susan Clapp, Statistician
Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
University of Virginia