The Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education voted unanimously at a February 5th Special Meeting to ask voters to pass two separate tax issues on the May 8th ballot to raise new revenues that will secure the future for B-C-S students.
There are two (2) separate levy issues on the May 8th ballot for operating expenses. The facts of our revenue losses are twofold: First, there is a $4.6 Million loss due to the devaluation of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant, which went into effect in 2018. Second, there is the phase out of public utility tax reimbursement that reduces district revenue by approximately $300,000 per year. This phase out began in 2015 and ends in 2030. These two losses amount to 30% of our budget and make these levies a necessity to stabilize our financial future. The two levies combined, if passed, would generate a little more than half of our losses—approximately $3.4 Million. Below is information on the two separate levy issues facing voters on the May 8th ballot.
The first issue will be a 1% earned income tax. If passed by voters, the earned income tax would have to be paid by district residents who have “earned income.” If passed, the income tax will be for a period of 5 years, and subject to renewal. According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the 1% earned income tax would generate approximately $1.989 Million annually to be used for operating expenses.
According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, "earned income" includes wages and self-employment earnings (including earnings from partnerships). "Earned income" does not include interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, social security income, rental income, lottery winnings, and income earned by estates.
The second issue is a 3.89 mill property tax to be paid by all property owners for a period of 5 years, and subject to renewal. If passed, the property tax would cost an additional $136 per $100,000 of value for each parcel of property annually. This property tax issue would generate approximately $1.4 Million per year for the district to be used for operating expenses.
Largest Loss in Ohio School Funding History
At an October 2017 meeting at the Statehouse hosted by Senator Randy Gardner, he asked a room full of experts on school funding if any other district lost the magnitude of money that B-C-S is losing. After reflection, no one could think of another district that lost the proportion of funds we are losing. The loss is simply unprecedented in Ohio.
Is the state providing any help?
Maybe, but it is not known for sure yet. Any help would first have to be approved by the Ohio General Assembly. We are currently working closely with Rep. Steve Arndt and Sen. Randy Gardner on this issue. Even if there is some state help, it will only be for a short period of time and cover only a small portion of what is being lost overall. We have been told by Rep. Arndt and Sen. Gardner that we will know more about state help this spring.
Your Current Taxes
Residents of Benton-Carroll-Salem School District currently pay the 17thlowest property taxes out of 612 school districts in Ohio. Our low property taxes have been due to the property values at Davis-Besse. B-C-S has not had any new levies since 2000.
Staying Fiscally Conservative
Payroll expenses in 2018 are the same as they were in 2012. The Board has taken the position that it evaluates every vacancy that comes open due to retirement or resignation, and makes a decision on replacing the position. In the summer of 2017 alone, the Board reduced teaching positions, a maintenance position, and a bus mechanic position for a savings of $406,000. These efficiency measures will continue, but the magnitude of the $6 Million annual loss of revenue means that the school district simply cannot cut its way out of the situation without drastically reducing educational opportunities for students. The school board is always looking for ways to maintain fiscal conservativeness for our voters, and not just when money is needed.
The Board will be hosting two informational community meetings on the two ballot issues that will be before voters. The dates are Monday, February 26 at 6:00 PM and Thursday, March 22 at 5:30 PM at the Oak Harbor High School Auditorium.
GUIDE ON SCHOOL DISTRICT INCOME TAXES
Click the link below for a guide published by the Ohio Department of Taxation concerning school district income taxes:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Election day is May 8, 2018. Absentee Voting (Early Voting) begins on April 10, 2018 at the Ottawa County Board of Elections office located at 8444 West SR 163 in Oak Harbor (just west of the county fairground). Voters can show up in person at their office at the following times:
Monday through Friday from April 10 through April 27 from 8--5. From Monday, April 30 through Friday, May 4 the Board of Elections is open from 8--7 for early voting. On Saturday, May 5 they are open from 8--4; on Sunday, May 6 they are open from 1--5; and on Monday, May 7 they are open from 8--2.