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Voters will see 1.99-mill levy for school district on November ballot

by Marsha McKenna senior Editor Published: August 7, 2016 12:00 AM
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Voters in the Stow-Munroe Falls School District will see a levy for permanent improvement funding when they go to the polls on Nov. 8.

At its Aug. 1 meeting, the Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education unanimously voted to place the 1.99-mill tax levy on the ballot.

Based on the Summit County Fiscal Officer's current tax valuation of the district of $905,062,710, the levy would raise $1,801,075 annually if approved.

Owners of a home with a market value of $100,000 would pay an additional $60 a year in taxes if voters approve the levy.

District treasurer Dave Osborne has stressed the funds gained from this levy would be used for "general permanent improvements" to the district; by law, the funds from a PIF levy cannot be used for operating expenses such as salaries. The levy is proposed to be a continuing levy and the district would begin receiving the funds in 2017.

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At the Aug. 1 meeting, Osborne said while the district has been able to pay for repairs and necessary improvements out of the general fund so far, it's "going to run out sooner than it should." As a result, the district would have to put an operating levy on the ballot sooner than it expected. The next renewal levy would be in 2020.

Explaining the need for the permanent improvement fund levy, Osborne said it gives the district "flexibility for emergencies with the 10 buildings."

Superintendent Tom Bratten has told the Stow Sentry the purpose of the PI levy "is to allow a school district to make needed significant building structural repairs to maintain high standards for safety, security and education."

"Our district has a high standard for education and safety," he said. "We are committed to maintaining this standard while being fiscally responsible to our residents. We must address the significant facility issues including roofs, foundations and safety upgrades to align with best safety and security practices. A PI levy this November will allow us to address many of these needs."

Email: mmckenna@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9430


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EdKent Aug 9, 2016 4:02 PM

Tens of millions of dollars in cash surplus projected out many years and yet they don't want to take from the money they already have to pay for maintenance. Unbelievable. Please study their forecast and budget on their website. Realize that the cash projections do NOT include levy renewals coming up, which always get passed by voters. Also, go to the Buckeye Institute to see salaries and pensions:http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/teacher-salary Use the district drop down menu and select Stow-Munroe Falls City, then select the most recent year you can and then Order By: Salary High to Low. They are doing very well and I'm happy they are, but don't tell us they don't have enough money when salaries and pensions are great and they still have a surplus in the budget. They can allot that if the board lets them instead of taking more from tax payers (home owners). It's unfortunate that the new state website at:http://www.tos.ohio.gov/transparency_teacher.aspx won't reveal pensions like the Buckeye Institute did.

EdKent Aug 9, 2016 3:49 PM

http://www.smfschools.org/application/files/9414/6548/3952/May_update_Fy16_Forecast_in_May_2016_1.pdf

EdKent Aug 9, 2016 3:47 PM

Everyone owes it to themselves to take a look at the disctrict's schedule of revenue, expenditures and changes in fund balances - actual and forecasted operating fund. It's available as a pdf file on the school's website in "District" then "Treasurer's Office". Look for "Five Year Forecast". I may try to post the link in the next comment, but the comment software may blocked links.

When looking at the forecast, keep in mind that the surpluses you see do NOT include any proposed renewal, replacement or new levies and yet even without those there's a cash surplus in the millions even out to 2020. In fact, the 'Cash Balance July 1', EXCLUDING any renewal levies which always get passed, will be a surplus of $26,829,264 in 2016, $26,358,543 in 2017, $24,299,365 in 2018, $18,299,158 in 2019 and $10,650,984 in 2020. That is a SURPLUS and does not include any revenue from future levy renewals that WILL come up, nor future replacement levies that WILL come up nor the proposed new levy that will be on the ballot this November!

They don't want to take away from this large surplus to pay for building maintenance but instead want to take it from taxpayers who are already funding the school's great budget surplus. Why? Are they reserving all those millions and the other millions from upcoming renewals in the next few years that WILL get passed, in order to fund more salary raises beyond what they've already negotiated with the union? Sure seems like it. This is called a GIANT hedge. They currently have millions of dollars in surplus and don't let them fool you by saying they won't. When they state their projections it is always without counting future renewal levies even though we all know those always get approved by voters.

Stow-Munroe Falls School District is in sound financial shape with many years of overall surplus projected and that's not even counting future levy renewals, one of which is coming in the next couple years. Guess which way my family and friends will be voting this November.