The Northwood school board has decided to place a 1.75-mill continuing permanent improvement levy on the May 5 ballot.
The district’s 2.5 mill permanent improvement levy, passed in 2004, expires this year.
“Without voter approval, no permanent improvement money will be collected in 2010,” said Superintendent Greg Clark. “With our aging buildings and ongoing maintenance needs, our district simply cannot afford to have this revenue stream go away. That means our district has no choice but to go back to our voters and ask for a levy to raise money in place of the money we will be losing when the current levy expires at the end of 2009.”
Clark said the proposed 1.75 mill permanent improvement levy will be continuing and would not expire like the current one.
“Our board has chosen not to make it a renewal levy this time,” said Clark. “By going with a continuing levy, the board will not have to go back to the voters every five years and ask for a renewal, which should decrease `levy fatigue.’ The continuing levy would also meet one of the requirements of the Ohio School Facilities Commission should our district decide to participate in its effort to renovate or replace schools throughout the state when Northwood is provided that opportunity.”
Operating levies in Northwood are continuing levies, he said.
Continuing permanent improvement levies were not allowed by law, said Clark. A bill recently passed by the state legislature allows the continued collection of permanent improvement levies.
The current 2.5-mill levy raised about $239,000 annually. The 1.75-mill levy will collect about $224,000 per year for the purpose of making general improvements to the district, including renovating, rehabilitating, adding to, furnishing, equipping and otherwise improving school facilities and sites, said Clark.
The new levy will cost slightly less than the current expiring levy, but will maintain a revenue stream that the district will use to maintain the buildings and grounds, he said. Permanent improvement levies are not used for salaries.
The current expiring levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $57.21 annually, while the proposed 1.75 mill levy would cost the same property owner $53.59 per year, according to Clark.
“In this economy, not asking for more money is probably the best decision we can make,” said Clark.
“Our board of education is very appreciative of the ongoing community support for our schools and has pledged to only ask the community for the dollars necessary,” he added. “This decision meets this important self imposed standard. Passage of this levy will enable the board to continue to maintain our facilities and it will not increase the tax burden on our community in these difficult economic times. Passing a levy at any point is tough, and it’s not any easier in this economy. At the same time, our school district can’t afford to be without funds to take care of our buildings.”