School districts hope voters approve levies

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.
Susan McMillan
Oct 31, 2010

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.



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.




What's at Stake: The money would pay for maintaining staff and programs === TEACHERS AND THEIR RETIREMENT!!!!                       VOTE NO ON BOTH!!!!


 Dear Tiredofthe . . . It does, in fact, take teachers to have a functioning school district.  While you may view that as an unfortunate part of our educational system, it is indeed a fact.  Teachers fund their own retirement (no social security)  and by law districts must also help pay for a portion of that.  Likewise with social security, and I am assuming you will accept your soc. security checks at some point in time.  Businesses are responsible for paying into soc. security for you (you pay half the tax, your employer pays the other half).  Anyone who buys the product or service from the business you work in subsidizes your retirement since the cost is built into the price of the product or service.  If businesses didn't have to help fund our retirement, then it is possible that prices would be lower.  Therefore, if you would like to give up the half of the soc. security that your employer is paying for you (and convince your fellow workers to do the same) to lower the prices I pay, I would appreciate it a great deal.

Many private employers also offer 401K plans which are funded by employee and employer contributions.  While some school districts offer 403B plans, they aren't nearly as potentially lucrative as the 401K plans that we can amass in private business.  Again, the cost to the employer for their contributions is part of the cost structure of the product or service being sold, so if your company is offering to match your 401K, consider giving it up, so I won't have to pay as much for the product your employer offers.

I once thought about getting into education after a number of years in private business, but then discovered that because of a couple of federal laws, I would lose up to 2/3 of the social security I had contributed over my working career (Government Offset Pension Act, and Windfall Provision Act) and I wouldn't have been able to make up the loss  in the public retirement contributions due to not being able to teach for 35 years.



West 99



9299 you need to check yor facts! We the taxpayer pays 800,000 of teachers retirement for Berlin Milan Teachers. This needs to stop. They are the top paid teachers in the district with all of their perks. Enough is enough!! They need to make concessions like everyone else. VOTE NO!!!


More $$ in Taxes? It's a NO.

It's a HELL NO.

I Love Your Kids

Go Berlin-Milan!!!!  We believe in you!!


To 9299

You have written one of the most factually accurate blogs that I have ever read.  I am a little surprised that someone so thoughtful would waste their time on this site.


Here is a tip for you liberal crybabies.  Social Security is BROKE!  Our great nation is BROKE!  Oh, that does NOT matter to liberal democracks and UNIONS who love to spend, spend, spend.  You are all like people on crack cocaine and ALWAYS need more.  Social Security will NOT be around when I retire and I have paid hundreds of thousands into it.  So WHY should UNION teachers be any different?  Oops, I guess UNION teachers and members of the UAW and ALL the other UNIONS are "special, entitled, deserving, above all, patriotic and the better" of the people.  You are all so special YOU want the PEOPLE to PAY UP for YOU!  Instead of the UNION'S spending over a BILLION dollars (One BILLION = One THOUSAND MILLION) on politics, how about securing the retirement and health care for members?  No?  Not a plausible idea?  So YOU freaks want the TAXPAYER to subsidize pensions and health care and simply allow UNIONS to spend union dues on a gamble for a political candidate???  Oh, don't forget all you UNION LOSERS, your UNION DUES are all going up 100%+ to make up for all that spending.  Just like our TAXES!!!  So, how does it feel.  How is all that hope and change working out for YOU???   


 rmb409-thanks for the comment.  I don't often post, but since it appears that the art of civil disagreement and reasoned debate is being drowned out by the likes of ranting talking heads in the media (on both sides of the spectrum) and by "ranting" posters on blogs like this one, it just seems responsible to try to raise the level of discussion sometimes.


RE: West

FYI, those statistics on teachers salaries are not accurate.


Taxpayer: You have paid hundreds of thousands into social Security? B.S.


Taxpayer: Reality check, federal taxes on the middle class have gone down under Obama, not up. Sorry, but thats the facts.


I have a hard time figureing out why you people hate teachers salaries..  These SHOULD be some of the highest paying jobs in the country.  These are the people in charge of educating yoru dumb a$$ children.  Yes a teacher should make more then the guy slinging garbage, the guy slinging burgers, the guy slinging money at the bank, the guy slinging cars off the line, the guy slinging anything anywhere.  Only people in the public sector that should make more are your police and firefighters.  Bar none, end of story.  Anyone that doesn't see that, open your eyes.


chongo feels teachers should be paid more than people who do physical labor.. he has no credibility to speak of imo.. wipe your a$$ you tard

because reading books to kids is such hard work..

however, i do grant you that the kids these days can be dangerous,.. but that is a whole other issue which i have already posted a "be all-end all" solution for.. (cameras in all public places).. so i cannot even let that factor in

brutus smith

 Hey T P, Are you auditioning for a movie role?


 Does anyone really believe a 4.98 mill levy for five years will build a 100 million dollar campus ? The new elementary school is scheduled to be built in about 30 years after the new artificial football field, tennis courts and baseball diamond. What great priority. By the way I just love the pretty fountain.


 Outsider-time for a new schtick.  If you have paid any attention to the information about the process, you would know how the payment is to be made.  If you're still not sure, then go back to the Perkins District website and reread the info.  As for the sport fields.  They have to be moved in order to make way for the new high school and middle school building.  And if you are so upset with that fountain, I suspect that you could see to it that it gets left out of the final design by talking to the proper officials.  I would guess that the entire project doesn't hinge on that one item.



I know how the payment will be made. But the propaganda being put out by the school administration does not properly discuss these facts with the general public. You had to go to special meetings and ask questions to get real answers. Been there, done that. Why is the school administration still trying to sugarcoat this important decision by taxpayers? Do you and the school board feel we are all incapable to understanding the facts?

Now, Mr. Know-It-All what do you have to say about people on fixed incomes losing their homes to this "Folly with a Fountain"? I've done research before I made these comments. I've talked to the county treasurer personally. So you condone throwing our fixed income citizens under the bus for this 100 million dollar campus? 

Don't get me wrong I'm not against replacing our schools as needed. I'm don't appreciate the lack of information method of selling this program. I don't appreciate the priority being put on athletic building improvements over physical building being built and then selling the project as a building need. I don't appreciate the "one and only" option being  touted. Simply put ,I have trust issues with the superintendent and his motive for this project. I guess I have trust issues with the school board too. Too much slick marketing and less factual information presented to the general public who can't attend special meetings.


Schools are one of the few places in government that citizens can say NO to new taxes. Much of the taxes we pay are put in place by our legislatures and to make changes we have to change those representing us.

I have thought for years school systems have not been run efficiently and its not the teachers fault or even the administrators or board of education. Its really OUR fault the voters. If you were to total up all the school superintendents salaries and benefits in Erie County it would be a huge number of dollars. Then add in the superintendent at the Erie/Ottawa Educational Service Center and then lump in the state school superintendent. Many would say lots of layers of administration and many would chastise all these high paid administrators. NO not really the fault lies in "WE" for the layers. WE want a Perkins Pirates and a Huron Tigers and a Sandusky Blue Streaks etc. and heaven forbid should we consolidate school systems. Their is the mess with sports and music and extra curriculars and to say nothing of my parents who graduated from Sandusky HS and WHY no Sandusky HS why that would be terrible. So we go on year after year with high schools all over Erie County that could quite frankly run more efficiently if consolidated. Colleges and universities put thousands of students on the same campus and it works. We could hire one school superintendent and geesh we could pay he/her a starting salary of $300,000 and have the finest superintendent in the United States for that kind of money. BUT WE will never do that for we have to have all our separate systems.

How much controversy have you head for Perkins and Sandusky to merge or Margaretta and Sandusky to merge. Heaven forbid if we would merge every system in Erie County SO we will go continue to pay more for schools than we need so we keep it just the way it is and folks will continue to admonish those high paid teachers and their benefits when the answer lies really not in all that but when WE will finally run schools in an efficient manner. Its time to consolidate to one system and be it the Erie County School System.


Common Sense

"Heaven forbid if we would merge every system in Erie County SO we will go continue to pay more for schools than we need so we keeep it just the way it is and folks will continue to admonis those high paid teachers and their benefits when the answer lies really not in all that but when WE will finally run schools in an efficient manner." Terrible run-on sentence, but we get the idea as well as your emotion.

Ah, if this were the end-all to school funding problems, the state could have legislated this a long time ago. Yet, with only one superintendent over the entire county system, where and how would that person continue to keep in touch with all memebers of his/her system? Woudl there be an administrator for areas?  How much would that cost the county? Efficiency is also needed in the areas of maintenance, technology, etc. Although salaries make up usually 80% of a school's budget, it is not the only factor to examine.

Your suggestion of paying a superintendent $300,000 to run an entire system does not guarantee the results that you so hope will occur. Take a look at Ohio's largest school districts who pay a handsome salary to their superintendents. They still have a plate full of "efficiency" problems.

In terms of the salaries of educators, I would also have to wonder how many of the comments made about these salaries are those who are currently or have been in the education field or have first-hand experience through a spouse.

The money woes of schools lies in the fact that we have pride in our individual schools is just one small entity of a much larger picture. Just ask those in SE Ohio where they have combined systems and they are no farther ahead for having done so.


4 years ago when Strickland was running for Gov., he said he had a plan for alternative financing for schools. Would the announcement of the said plan be the October errrr November surprise? Obama has said we all must have skin in the game, but haven't people with grown kids and those that decide not to have children that are homeowners have enough skin  in the game already.


There is a lot of waste in the education system.  One example, if a department receives a grant from the state, they must state specifically what they are going to use the grant for, e.g. 7 computers.  When the time comes to actually purchase the computers,  maybe the price of the computers has dropped.  Because of the price drop, 8 computers could be bought instead.  But they are not allowed to buy more, only the number stipulated on the original request.  How much sense does that make?  The state and federal education departments tell the school districts "Use it or lose it"!  And if they don't use all of it, the remainder goes back to the state and the following year the amount is lower because "you didn't need the amount we gave you last year".  Any business that operated that way wouldn't be in business for long.  But this is how the state and federal education departments operate.  With your tax dollars!

nosey rosey

If we are to believe the tea party's mantra of taking the government back to the constitution then every school levy should be voted down by an overwhelming majority since the property owners burden has been proven unconstitutional by the courts.  I know I will never vote for a school levy - new or renewal - as long as I live.  One only has to look at the pictures of the Helm's follies that were built in Clyde to see why.  The school district lied repeatedly about their financial situation every single time they wanted money for some auditorium, new building or renewal levy.  What a waste that perfectly usable buildings were torn down to be replaced by the Taj Mahal so that the school district looked better than the district next door.


When I was younger and out of college, employers and myself PAID social security and medicare taxes.  The military pays NO social security taxes.  Now that I am self-employed I PAY a combined 12.4% for social security and 2.9% for medicare up to the maximum limit of $110K a YEAR!  It does NOT take long to get into the hundred (plural, more than 100K) thousands if you "honestly" report your income.  Do the math, quit being a crybaby loser and go out and DO something with your miserable life.  Ha! Ha!  I have a bad feeling I am not going to see any of that money I PAID into social security.  I would cut a deal in a minute with the federal government to simply give the principal money I PAID IN back to me without any interest and they can keep the money I PAID IN for medicare.  How does that sound to you miserable liberals?     


NO on EHOVE until they start to open up bidding practices. If they have so much money where they can use the most expensive contractors without going out for bids then they have too much income!


 Taxpayer-I think it amusing that you call me a "know it all" when you seem to have extensive knowledge about so many subjects as you post repeatedly on many different Register stories.  I don't know how you find the time.

As for "throwing people out of their homes" if this passes, I have to go back to every bond issue and/or levy ever passed, including the original bond issues to build the current high school and other buildings.  It would be interesting to see how many people were forced from their homes when those were passed.  I suspect we figured out how to afford what was needed without tossing senior citizens into the street.  I also plan to vote for the senior citizen services levy and I don't use those services.  Should I say the heck with it since it isn't something I may directly benefit from (unlike the new complex which all residents will be free to use) or should I do what is right and support a service that will benefit only a portion of the community? If seniors vote for the senior levy and the metroparks levy, will not these increase the taxes for everyone regardless of income level including the seniors who are already struggling?  I guess I don't get how some can afford those levies that will only benefit them and can't afford levies that will benefit them and others.

There has been more information disseminated for this project than any other levy I have seen since moving into the township years ago.  Those who continue to insist that the info is "propaganda" or misleading are out in left field.  There has never been as much transparency and ability to ask questions on any other school district levy.  I don't know what else you want.  I suspect that in a couple of years (if this issue fails) you will be dead set against the higher mill levy that will have to be passed.  When is the time right?  It apparently hasn't been right since 1999-2000 since that's the last time new money has been approved for the district.  And that period of time includes some good economic years.  So, again, when is the right time?