Friday, December 29, 2006

A Small Start

I have been asking the School Board for quite a while now to start talking about the next operating levy soon, and to use this dialog as an opportunity to educate the community about the core issues of school funding.

In the ThisWeek Hilliard newspaper, an article was published this week that contained one sentence of great importance:
Treasurer Brian Wilson said the school board will have to go back to the ballot absolutely no later than May of 2008.

That's a start. I wish it had been the headline of the story, rather than buried 17 paragraphs in. But it's a start. There was however, a significant factual error in this article:

In May the taxpayers of the community voted to approve a 3.95-mill bond issue and operating levy.

Actually what was passed was a 1.95 mil Bond Levy to finance the construction of the new high school and elementary school, plus a 2 mil Permanent Improvement Levy to fund the cost of various repairs and upgrades to our existing buildings. There was no Operating Levy on the ballot for this election.

That's yet to come -- no later than May 2008 says the Treasurer. And it will need to collect more than $75 million in three years, not nearly thirty like the bond levy.

So if my property taxes went up $400/yr to raise $75 million in 28 years as a result of the bond and permanent improvement levies we just passed, how much will they go up to collect at least $75 million in three years? The answer depends on how much the State of Ohio kicks in, but the best case is that the State will send around $25 million in additional funding. That still leaves our community on the hook for $50 million.

So best case: if it takes $400/yr to raise $75 million in 28 years, then I think my share of a $50 million operating levy is something on the order of $2,500 per year.

The construction costs of the buildings are a small portion of the total cost of running a school system. The real costs are the personnel and operating expenses.

My calculations may be faulty. I encourage the School Board to give us the correct number sooner, not later.

No comments:

Post a Comment