The issue is a yes or no vote on approving a 3.9 mill property tax to be paid by all property owners for five years. The tax would cost an additional $136 per $100,000 of value for each parcel of property annually and would generate approximately $1.5 million per year for district operating expenses.
These funds are needed because the district is losing $6 million in revenue out of a current budget of approximately $20 million through no fault of the district.
There is the annual phase out of public utility tangible personal property (PUTPP) reimbursement payments from the state of $278,000 per year, through 2030, a loss of $4.5 million. The de-valuation of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station by owner First Energy, through the Ohio Department of Taxation, an annual loss of $4.6 million beginning in 2018.
Q: Was anything done to stop this loss from happening?
A: Yes. The district explored the possibility of challenging the de-valuation of Davis-Besse. Unfortunately, due to a change in state law in 1989, neither the school district nor the county auditor can challenge a de-valuation once approved by the Ohio Department of Taxation. The Board asked First Energy for funding to provide a short term “glide path” to adapt to the new financial reality due to the de-valuation. First Energy would not provide any kind of financial assistance to the school district.
Q: Have any other districts lost this much money?
A: No. In October 2017 Sen. Randy Gardner asked a room full of experts on school funding if any other district lost the magnitude of money that B-C-S is losing. No one could think of another district. The loss is unprecedented in Ohio.
Q: What about the B-C-S Bridge; doesn’t that help?
A: Yes, but temporarily. A “B-C-S Bridge” payment from the state of approximately $1.8 million per year for 3 years will help, but the funds from the state are temporary.
Q: Is the district making up all of its losses through these levies?
A: No. This levy will raise $1.5 million annually. The one passed in May 2018 will raise $1.4 million annually, for a total of $2.9 million. We are not making up the loss of $6 million annually.
Q: Has Benton-Carroll-Salem made any cuts?
A: Yes. Over the past seven years, the Board has been fiscally conservative by looking at every job vacancy, and asking if staffing can be more efficient and effective. This has led to the reduction of several hundred thousand dollars in salary expenses in the areas of administration, teachers, and support staff. The Board’s fiscally conservative actions can be seen when looking at payroll expenses (which account for about 70% of the total budget). In Fiscal Year 2012, payroll was $11.5 million. In Fiscal Year 2013, payroll was $9.7 million. Six years later, in Fiscal Year 2018, payroll expenses remain the same at $9.7 million.
Q: What if the levy fails?
A: The district would be forced to make reductions effective with the start of the 2019-20 school year. A list of these reductions will be published on or before June 1.
Q: Would HB 6 or similar legislation being proposed have helped the B-C-S revenue issue?
A: Proposed HB 6 legislation (the Ohio Clean Air Bill) would have no impact on B-C-S revenue losses due to devaluation of Davis- Besse. In other words, passage of HB 6 would provide no new funds that B-C-S lost due to First Energy’s decision to seek devaluation.
Q: What is the fiscal impact of allowing the open enrollment of students from other districts?
A: Open enrollment is a revenue generator for B-C-S. We lose $504,000 to other districts, but gain $805,000 with the students we accept for open enrollment.
Q: Does the district pay anything to those who have retired from the district?
A: No. The district makes contributions to the retirement plans of each employee as required by state law and contract agreements only while they are active employees.
Q: When and how do I vote
A: Voting is Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Voter registration ends July 8, 2019.
Q: Where can I get more information; how will the district communicate?
A: We have dedicated a page on our website to information about this issue: http://www.bcssd.com/ballot-issues
We will host three Facebook Live sessions to provide information and answer questions on June 5 at noon; June 28 at 10 a.m.; and July 25 at 5:30 p.m. on the district Facebook page.
We will be host two Face-to-Face meetings on June 5 at 6 p.m.; and July 25 at 6:15 p.m. at The Hub at Oak Harbor High School.
We will be holding three Coffee Connections with the Superintendent and Treasurer at June 5 at 2 p.m. at Hartford House; June 11 at 8:30 p.m. at Evolve Cafe; and July 25 at 10 a.m. at Blackberry Corners.
Residents can callthe Board Office (419- 898-6210); or email Supt. Guy Parmigian at email@example.com, or Treasurer Cajon Keeton at firstname.lastname@example.org.