The Avon Lake School District has opted to place a 9.04-mill 5-year emergency “new money” levy on the November ballot, citing a critical need for funding in the wake of several income reductions.
The Board of Education approved the approximate 9-mill option over the 6-mill option at the Aug. 7 Board of Education meeting.
If passed by a majority vote in November, electors can expect to pay a tax increase of $276.88 per $100,000 of home valuation starting January of 2013, School Treasurer Autumn Streng said. The levy, if approved, would generate an additional $7.5 million annually for the school district.
The average home in Avon Lake, per the Lorain County Auditor, is $231,737.
“That means it would cost the average homeowner $641.64 (more) per year,” Streng said.
The district, which last asked for ne money in 2006, is citing a decrease in several key-funding sources for the need for new levy.
“Back in 2009, the power plant was devalued,” Streng said. “That has meant a loss of $1.2 million per year since 2009.”
The district has also seen a decrease in state funding.
“Between fiscal year 2009 and 2013, between the power plant and state funding that’s $8.8 million we’ve lost (overall),” Streng said. “It’s very tough right now.”
No fat left, superintendent says
Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said the board felt it was a better option to ask for the 9-mlll option than have voters approve a 6-mill option and face cuts regardless.
“We didn’t think it would go over well if the 6-mill (option) passed and we still had to cut $2 million a year,” Scott said.
He also said the district could have opted to make severe cuts and not ask for new money.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but this is something the board wanted the public to decide on before we did anything drastic,” Scott said.
He also said the district has been frugal with its money.
“We’ve been so tight in what we’ve done here, there’s no fat left,” he said. “What’s left is meat. The school district is supported well for a reason.”
A community survey showed that for the most part, the public supports the district, which has consistently earned high marks with the Ohio Department of Education.
“We’ve reduced 13 teachers and almost $1.4 million (per year) in personnel over the past two years,” Scott said. “The teachers took 0 percent raises for the last two years.
“Even if that amount (9-mlll) passes, we’re going to have to keep it tight.”
He noted the district has increased AP classes from 5 offered to the current 17 without an increase in personnel.
Voters will have an opportunity to decide at the November General Election.
November 2012 school "new tax" levy by the numbers
- 9.04 mills
- $276.88 tax increase per $100,000 home valuation
- $231,737 – Average valuation of an Avon Lake home (per county auditor)
- $641.64 – Average tax increase (based on average home valuation)
- $1.2 million – Funding lost per year from devaluation of GenOn Power Plant
- $8.8 million – Total school district has lost between 2009 and 2013, from power plant devaluation and state funding losses.
See More on Patch
- Issue 10: Columbus, Growing District Means Tighter Financial Squeeze for District
- Resident Addresses City Heads on Levy: Maintain Schools, Don't Rebuild
- Avon Lake School Board Talks Levy
- School District Will Receive $1.5 Million Owed In the Next Week
- Avon Lake School District Eyeing November 'New Money' Levy
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