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|What is on the Nov. 5th ballot and what will it cost me?
||What is this school levy about?
|Why is Ontario Schools on the ballot?
||How has Ontario Schools managed our money?
Operating Levy on the Ballot Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Q: What is on the November 5 ballot for Ontario Local Schools?
A: A 6.9 mill, 5-year operating levy.
Q. What is a mill?
A. Local tax rates against property are always computed in mills. School levies are presented in mills. A mill generates $1.00 in property taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value of property it is levied against. Homes in Ohio are assessed at 35% of their market value, which means, you only pay taxes on 35% of the market value of your home.
The example below shows the calculation of the cost of one-mill on a home with a market value of $100,000:
Home Market Value $ 100,000
Assessed Rate 35%
Home Assessed Value $ 35,000
Rate for One Mill .001
Cost of One-Mill $35
Q: What is an operating levy?
A: An operating levy generates funds for the day-to-day operations of the school district like staffing, utilities, and supplies.
Q: How much money will this operating levy generate for Ontario Local Schools?
A: This operating levy will generate $1,935,000 per year for the school district.
Q: How much would this levy cost me?
A: The levy will cost residents $20 per month per $100,000 of home market value for the first two (2) years. The collection would begin in 2020.
In 2022, it is the district’s plan to no longer collect taxes from a bond issue originating in 1998. By doing this, the net increase of this levy will then only cost residents $7 per month per $100,000 of home market value for three (3) years.
Q: What do we get if the levy passes?
A: If the levy passes, it means critical funding for current quality academic programs and services that we value in Ontario Schools will continue. We will continue to provide excellent teachers for our students, up-to-date resources and the wide range of student activities, such as athletics, band, clubs, etc. that our community values.
Q: Why now?
A: It has been 13 years since we last passed an operating levy and during that time, our tax base has changed and decreased significantly. It’s not a spending issue that is causing our schools to be on the ballot - it is a revenue issue. To maintain our current programs, staff and opportunities, additional funding is needed to balance the budget.
Q: What will happen if the levy does not pass?
A: If the levy does not pass, then we have to reduce our budget in the near future. That means our schools would have to cut programs and services and reduce opportunities for students.
Q: How has state funding support changed over the years?
A: Ontario Local Schools relied heavily on local business TPP tax as a source of funding. The State of Ohio eliminated the TPP tax in 2006, but provided state funding reimbursements so that school districts would not face a financial cliff due to the loss of these local funds. However, those state reimbursement funds are being phased out and will be eliminated by next school year.
Q: Why is Ontario on the ballot more often than other area districts?
A: Each school district has a different tax base. For years, districts like Ontario relied on a solid industrial base and a local business tax known as the tangible personal property tax (tpp). No other district in our area had a tax base like our schools.
With the elimination of the TPP and the closure of the General Motors plant, our tax base has changed significantly, and has resulted in a net loss of $2,850,000 to our district.
Q: What has the district done to operate in a lean manner and manage their budget wisely?
A: We have tightened our budget by
- Spending less to educate our students. In FY 2018, only 11 schools out of 607 in the state spent less to educate a student than Ontario.
Spending less on administration than the state average. In FY 2018, Ontario spent the 28th lowest per pupil amount for administrators of all schools in the state of Ohio.
- Stretching the levy cycle and avoiding the need for a levy prior to now due to the implementation of open enrollment in the 2011-2012 school year.
Q: Why can’t the state fund our schools?
A: We are working with our local legislators to come up with a school funding plan that would provide fair funding for our schools. We appreciate their support!
However, we cannot wait for or rely on the state for funding as the process is expected to take several years and still must be approved by lawmakers. We need to act now to balance our budget.
Q: How has our local tax base changed over the last couple of years?
A: First, our local business tax base has decreased significantly with the loss of local taxes (tangible personal property) and General Motors. This has resulted in a net loss of $2,850,000 to our district. In order to replace these lost funds, the state expects schools to ask voters to pass a levy.
Q: What about revenue from hospitals?
A: Hospitals are exempt from paying property taxes. Therefore, when Avita purchased the Lazarus building, and made it a hospital, our district lost all of the property taxes previously paid by Lazarus.
Our district had to reimburse approximately $285,000 back to Avita, because for three years, Avita had paid taxes on their building, before it became exempt.
The Ohio Health facility of West Fourth Street was recently exempted from paying property taxes. Our district had to reimburse Ohio Health approximately $240,000.
These are just a couple examples. Other buildings in our district have become churches and governmental buildings, and they too are exempt from paying property taxes.
Q: What about all the new business? Doesn’t the district receive revenue from that?
A: The majority of the new businesses throughout Ontario (Menards, Furniture Row, FedEx, BW3’s, Rue 21, Buckeye Village, IHOP) are part of a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) program. This means that all of their property taxes that would have been paid to our schools now go to the City of Ontario. The City uses these funds to provide infrastructure (roads, sewer, sidewalks, stop lights) for those businesses. The school then receives from the City approximately 66% of the taxes that we would have received if these businesses would not have been TIF’d. The 34% loss in taxes equates to a $130,000 annual loss to our school.
Q: Can I vote before Election Day, even in November?
A: Yes. There are several ways to vote early in this election.
- Anyone who is registered to vote in Ohio can cast their vote early at the Board of Elections Office at 1495 W. Longview Avenue, Suite 101, Mansfield, Ohio 44906. Early voting starts October 8 and runs through November 4, 2019. Go to https://www.richlandcountyoh.us/index.php/departments/public-administration/board-of-elections to learn early voting hours.
- Early votes can also be cast by mail through the absentee ballot/early voting ballot application.
- Turn learn more and to initiate your ballot request, visit to https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/absentee-voting/#byMail.
- The mailing of ballots takes time. We recommend that you plan ahead and allow for a few week’s time so that you can receive and return your ballot ahead of the election.
Q: How do I register to vote?
A: Go to https://olvr.sos.state.oh.us/ to register to vote. The deadline to register is October 7, 2019.
Remember that certain changes of information can trigger an update to your voter registration. So, if you have had a name or address change, for example, you will want to update your information.
Q: Where do I vote?
A: To find your voting location, go to
Q: Who can I contact with additional questions?
A: If you have any other questions about Ontario Schools, please feel free to contact Superintendent Lisa Carmichael or Treasurer Randy Harvey. Both welcome your interest in the school district and would be happy to discuss your questions. You can also find additional information on the district website at www.ontarioschools.org
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