Ohio's 614 school districts have 217 levy and bond issues on the ballot next week, including several levies that local voters will cast their ballot for or against.
Margaretta Schools voters will be the first in the state to weigh in on a new type of levy, the conversion levy. Campaign leaders have had a challenge trying to explain the complicated levy, but they believe it will help the district more than a typical renewal because taxes will increase when property values do.
Thanks in part to an influx of cash from open enrollment, Perkins Schools is doing well financially. Their 4.98-mill levy would allow them to apply for low-interest federal construction bonds and build a high-tech K-12 campus.
After several failures at the ballot box, the Berlin-Milan school board is trying a unique tactic. They want to raise $1.6 million, so they split it between a property tax and a traditional income tax to appeal to as much of the electorate as possible. Each levy would raise $800,000 per year.
Clyde-Green Springs and Huron are just trying to hang on to money they have already with renewals. EHOVE also has an old levy on the ballot, but rather than a renewal, they want a replacement to bring in an additional $1.8 million per year to expand offerings into new industries.
The Issues: To raise $1.6 million in annual revenue, Berlin-Milan wants voters to approve a 3.5-mill property tax levy and a 0.5 percent income tax levy, which would bring in $800,000 each.
How Much: The property tax would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $107.19 per year. The income tax amounts to $250 on $50,000 of income.
How Long: Five years for both taxes
What's at Stake: The money would pay for maintaining staff and programs. "If we only get one or none, it will mean eventual cuts," superintendent David Snook said, but the board hasn't decided where to cut.
CLYDE-GREEN SPRINGS SCHOOLS
The Issue: Renewal of a 2.3-mill levy renewal that generates $538,000 per year
How Much: The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $70.44 per year, which would not change if voters renew it.
How Long: 10 years
What's at Stake: The levy helps to pay for operating expenses, such as salaries and benefits, heat, electric, natural gas, bus fuel, phone bills, textbooks, technology and cleaning supplies.
The Issue: Replacing a 1.5-mill levy to raise the annual revenue from $2.8 million to $4.6 million
How Much: The tax bill on a $100,000 house would increase by $19.44, to $45.94.
How Long: Permanent
What's at Stake: EHOVE's local funding has remained the same since 1986, and school leaders want to use the additional funds to expand programs to meet demands in the local workforce.
The Issue: Renewal of a 3-mill levy that generates $370,000 per year for permanent improvements
How Much: It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $32.71 per year, an amount that will not change if voters approve the renewal.
How Long: Permanent
What's at Stake: The levy allows the district to buy buses and technology and "continue to upgrade our buildings at a level that we don't have to replace them," treasurer Mike Weis said.
The Issue: A 4.85-mill conversion levy on the ballot would replace existing income and allow for taxes to rise as property values rise.
How Much: Tax bills will not increase until 2013, after the next reappraisal. After that, tax increases would depend on the change in valuation for individual properties.
How Long: Permanent
What's at Stake: Margaretta Schools officials say the conversion levy will allow the district to maintain existing funding and perhaps put fewer levies on the ballot in the future.
The Issue: A 4.98-mill levy that would enable the district to build a new K-12 campus
How Much: The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $152.51 per year.
How Long: Five years
What's at Stake: If voters don't approve the levy, Perkins can't apply for the federal construction bonds that make the new campus more affordable.