Economic studies have found that the quality of education has the greatest impact on the decisions of individuals and firms to locate in a given area. [45]

Public education is more responsible for property tax burdens than any other service provided by local government in Michigan. [46] On average, about 70 percent of property taxes statewide are spent on school expenditures. This trend is not apparent Downriver, where only Grosse Ile Township and Romulus spend at least 70 percent. Examining Downriver cities, only 63.9 percent of property taxes are spent on schools. This is because townships do not offer the same range of services as cities. The average township levy is 3.33 mills; the average city millage is 16.69 mills. But only four of the 17 Downriver communities use at least 63.9 percent of their property taxes for school millage:Brownstown Township, Flat Rock, Grosse Ile Township and Romulus. [47]

Table II

School Taxes as a Percentage of Property Taxes, 1987

Downriver community

Percentage

Allen Park

60.5

Brownstown Township

66.7

Ecorse

52.8

Flat Rock

63.9

Gibraltar

62.0

Grosse Ile

70.5

Lincoln Park

59.8

Melvindale

50.8

River Rouge

49.2

Riverview

61.3

Rockwood

61.6

Romulus

73.2

Southgate

58.5

Taylor

61.8

Trenton

59.9

Woodhaven

63.5

Wyandotte

59.1

Data from Michigan State Tax Commission, op. cit.

Downriver has property tax millages for education which are slightly higher than the statewide average but as a percentage of total taxes, school taxes Downriver are lower than average for cities in the state.

One conclusion which can be drawn from this is that the Downriver communities should consider lowering the percentage of property tax burden which is not school-oriented. This would make the area more competitive with the rest of the state for those individuals and firms which value educational services relative to other city services.

Downriver school districts spend substantial amounts of money on education. Table III ranks Downriver school districts by current operating expenditures per pupil among the state's 525 K-12 school districts: [48]

TABLE III

Ranking for Current Operating Expenditures Per Pupil

School District

Rank

Allen Park

61

Ecorse

98

Flat Rock

153

Gibraltar

193

Grosse Ile

41

Lincoln Park

329

Melvindale

39

River Rouge

82

Riverview

134

Romulus

36

Southgate

110

Taylor

79

Trenton

26

Woodhaven

177

Wyandotte

70