COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Voters in about a dozen school districts across central Ohio will decide whether to approve new and continuing school levies in the May election.
No district in Franklin County has a levy or bond issue slated for May 2, but a handful of districts in Licking County do.
Mills, renewals, and emergencies: What are levies?
To supplement state and federal funding, districts can ask voters to approve increases in property or income taxes. If a majority of voters approve increases in either, county officials will collect the specified amounts and distribute funds to the district.
How a district will use levied funds depends on the type of levy, but the most common uses are for operating expenses, permanent improvements and construction. Districts must specify the levy’s purpose when putting it on the ballot.
Common types of levies include:
- Bond issue: A district requests a specific amount of money, as opposed to funds accrued from property values, for construction and permanent improvements. Depending on its purpose, a bond issue can last up to 40 years.
- Emergency levy: A limited operating levy, for a maximum of 10 years, that asks for a consistent dollar amount year over year. The millage rate increases and decreases depending on property values to maintain the established funding.
- Substitute levy: A substitute of existing emergency levies and grows as new real property is added to the tax base. Can be renewed.
- Dual-purpose levy: A single ballot issue for a levy to fund permanent improvements and operating costs. Districts must specify the distribution of funds across purposes.
Property tax levies are measured in “mills,” or one-tenth of one cent. One mill for a home appraised at $200,000 is worth $200.
In Licking County, Heath City Schools is asking for a 14.5-mill substitute tax levy for operating costs like staff salaries, maintenance and educational materials. The levy, worth $4.6 million, will replace two existing emergency levies.
Marysville Exempted Village School District has put a five-year, 8.4-mill emergency levy on the ballot to counteract a projected decline in operating revenue. The district said the expected $9.64 million in funds are necessary to maintain daily operations, as state funding has decreased.
Walnut Township Local Schools has requested the renewal of a 10-year, 1.75% income tax for operating expenses, while Granville Exempted Village School District is asking for the renewal of a 5-year, 0.75% income tax.
Other levies on central Ohioans’ ballots include:
- Coshocton City: 4.813-mill substitute tax levy worth $900,000 in a continuation of an existing emergency levy
- Crestline Exempted Village: Renewal of 5-year, 11.7-mill tax levy for operating costs, worth $759,000
- Johnstown-Monroe Local: Renewal of 5-year, 4.8-mill tax levy worth $2 million for emergency requirements and renewal of 5-year, 1% income tax for operating expenses
- Northridge Local: Renewal of 5-year, 5.5-mill tax levy worth $2.1 million
- Riverdale Local: Continuation of 3-year, 1% income tax for current expenses
- Madison-Plains Local: 37-year bond for new construction, worth $63 million
- River Valley Local: 25-year, 2.5-mill combination levy worth $21.1 million for construction, renovation and repairs, and renewal of 20-year, 1% income tax for operating expenses