Operating Levy

Graphic 1 percent earned income tax levy

Questions and Answers about the proposed levy

Q1 I heard that there are changes to the levy. What is the newly proposed levy?
❏ This is a 1 % earned income tax OPERATING levy capped at 5 years
a. Wages will be taxed but retirement income, pensions, investment income, and social security
will not be taxed.
b. An operating levy means that the income will be used for:
i. Staff, books, equipment, food service, transportation, fuel, maintenance and repair
Q2 I do not understand why the district needs money. Why is this operating levy being proposed?
❏ ALSD has not passed an operating levy in 28 years.
❏ The district has been flat funded with revenue from the state actually dipping, resulting in a loss of more than $2 million in funding since 2009.
❏ ALSD is operating on the lowest amount of property tax millage that is allowed by law and also
has the lowest residential millage rate in the County. This means that a homeowner in ALSD
pays less in school taxes that a homeowner of the same value in any other district in Athens
County .
❏ The combination of these issues with the rising operating costs (personnel costs, utilities,
maintenance, transportation, etc.) will result in the district running a deficit which will grow to over
$1.5 million by fiscal year 2023.
❏ The district does not want to sacrifice the quality of education provided to our children. However,
without new revenue, cuts will continue to come, and each year those cuts will grow.
Q3 What has the district done to reduce spending?
❏ Since the 2005-06 school year, Alexander Local has saved over $10 million by reducing its staff
through attrition. These reductions have included 18 certificated positions and 14 non-certificated
positions.
❏ Some administrative positions have been consolidated.
❏ Three bus routes have been eliminated, saving an estimated $84,000.
❏ We moved the alternative school to our campus at a savings of $50,000.00/year.
❏ Our school is rated energy star efficient.
❏ These items reflect just a small snapshot of what the district has done to be good stewards of our community tax dollars.
Q4 What will be the next step if the levy does not pass?
❏ At past board meetings several cuts have been mentioned including cuts to bussing, teaching
and staff positions, and specific programs, including agriculture, industrial arts, and business to
name a few. Nothing has been made official as of this election cycle.
❏ Due to the failure of previous levies, the district has been forced to eliminate some teaching
positions, eliminate some clubs and activities, reduce coaching staff, impose pay to participate
requirements for sports and clubs and other activities.
❏ These cuts came as a result of a $200,000 budget shortfall. The budget shortfall is
expected to balloon in the coming years.
❏ Activity fees and class fees have been implemented and will continue to be assessed if the levy
does not pass.
Q5 I heard the district received additional money as a result of a valuation increase in public utility personal property (PUPP). Won’t this help?
❏ The district expects to receive an increase in PUPP revenues. The increase will result in an
approximate addition of $624,000 annually. However, this amount is not enough to cover the
projected deficits outlined in the district’s forecast, which is expected to reach $1.5 million by
2023.
❏ However, this increased revenue has allowed the board to opt for an earned income tax. Though
it will bring in less money ($1.6 million annually) as opposed to a traditional income tax ($2.2
million annually), the board will be able to balance its budget.
Q6 I pay too much in taxes. Why should I pay more?
❏ We understand that many voters are concerned with the amount they pay in taxes; however,
most voters are actually paying considerably less in taxes compared to previous years. In 2005
H.B. 66 was passed, which started an across the board reduction in Ohio’s income tax rates. To
put this in perspective, i f you take an individual who was earning $40,000 a year in 2005, their
Ohio income tax liability would have been $1,281.10 for the year. For comparison, due to the
Ohio tax reductions enacted, an individual earning $40,000 in 2018 would have a tax liability of
$865.25.
❏ ALSD is operating on the lowest amount of property tax millage that is allowed by law and also
has the lowest residential millage rate in the County. (see Q2)
❏ In 2017 Alexander’s residential property tax rate ranked 55th out of 612 Ohio school districts.
Q7 Why did the district opt for an income tax instead of a property tax?
❏ In a community with many family operated farms, the board is very aware that property taxes will affect some groups more than others.
❏ The board is also concerned that if a person were to lose a job (thus an income), they would still owe the same amount of money in property taxes. With the earned income tax, if someone were to lose a job, they would not pay the income tax. Therefore, people in a bad financial position
because of a job loss, would not lose a home because of taxes.
Q8 I have been unhappy with past decisions of our district’s leadership. How is the district
addressing these concerns and how do I know that this money will be well spent?

❏ We understand that some stakeholders have been unhappy with past decisions. Sometimes
leadership has to make tough decisions, which can be difficult to understand, especially when we
do not have all of the information. However, we ask voters to remember that it is impossible to
satisfy every community member with every decision that must be made. The board is comprised
of elected officials. We encourage concerned community members to communicate with their
elected officials, ask questions, and seek information.
❏ Alexander’s leadership is listening to community concerns. One example is their increased effort to make information more readily accessible to the community and to increase communication throughout the district. Contact information for each board member is available on the school’s website, Mrs. Douglas has been working to get a community wide newsletter into the hands of every citizen in our district, and the board has made the decision to stream all board meetings.
❏ We also ask you to remember all the wonderful things happening within our district. Our district’s
report card was the best in our area. Our district has been nationally recognized for our
commitment to developing wrap around services for our students. We have numerous teachers
who have been awarded regional and state recognition for their commitment to education. Great
stuff IS happening at Alexander! We want to continue this tradition!
❏ This is an operating levy, which means that revenue directly benefits our students. This fund
allows us to recruit and retain a highly qualified staff and pay for new supplies and materials, like
books and updated technology. This levy allows us to ensure safety is a top priority. This levy will
allow the district to maintain the excellent quality of education our students deserve.

 

Graphic - Good Financial Stewards infographic

 

Additional Levy FAQ