David Hankins discusses Fayette school levy 10.31

Written by David Green.

By DAVID HANKINS

Gorham Fayette Superintendent

The Gorham Fayette Local Schools would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some information and philosophies concerning the 7-mill levy renewal for operating expenses that appears on the Nov. 6 ballot.

School funding in Ohio is certainly a complicated and unpredictable computation, and we have been fortunate at FLS to be able to maintain stability in our finances while continuing to provide a quality education for the students in this school district.

You have probably also followed the discussions the Board of Education has had concerning the decision to let the current levy expire vs. placing the issue on the ballot. The resolutions were passed to place the issue on the ballot a short time before the lawsuit with DH Holdings was settled. Knowing the amount of the settlement, and remembering their promise to district residents to provide maximum tax relief, the board chose to remove the issue until the finances of the district and options for bond repayment  could be studied in the hope of providing for you the maximum return on your investment.

We heard from many of you at that time stressing that you did not want to see the issue removed and felt it was in the best interest of the district to maintain that revenue flow and to provide an opportunity for you to vote on that issue. $1.5 million has been set aside from the settlement to establish a defeasance fund to pay off current notes, and the majority of the board agreed to place the levy renewal on the November ballot. Later in this article I will share numbers and the effect of the renewal on our district.

There are four types of levies that are available to school districts for funding.

• A regular operating levy for current expenses is based on millage and not a dollar amount. Our current levy expiring is in this category. It can be renewed or replaced.

• An emergency levy is submitted as a dollar amount to be raised per year. The mills are adjusted each year to keep the income constant for that levy. It can be renewed.

• A replacement levy can raise more revenue than the levy it replaces, even though it could have the same millage rate. The reason is that the original levy which is being replaced may have been in existence through one or more reassessments. If the value of the property has increased, the factor of HB 920 kicks in. HB 920 reduces millage to provide the constant amount of dollars originally voted in. In the case of our 7-mill levy, our current effective millage is approximately 6.1.

• A school district income tax is based on a percentage and our district tax is currently 1.0%. Income tax is not affected by HB 920 and can grow with the district.

The Fayette Board of Education has chosen to go forward with a renewal of our current 7-mill five-year operating levy. This would result in you paying no more in taxes than you are currently paying, and with continued cost cutting should continue to operate our district and provide the extra funding needed for the new facility for operating costs.

Also, the defeasance will allow for bond repayment which will result in a rollback of millage, and which should show up in your tax bill at some point. If you log on to your computer at www.ode.state.oh.us and click on the left side on the School District Financial Status box, it will take you to the Five Year Forecast. You can check on the status of any school district in Ohio.

If you look at ours, you will see that we are projected with the renewal of this levy to remain in the black until 2011. With continued cost cutting and the levy renewal, that deficit can be held off until 2012, when the levy currently up for renewal will expire again.

We truly appreciate your support for the Fayette School District. If you have not driven by our new facility lately, please do. Parking lots have base coats, lighting is up and operable, windows and doors are in, roofs are almost completed, and the yard is seeded. They are on schedule, and move-in is on target for this coming summer, with a fall 2008 start in the new facility.

See you at the polls!

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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