Frequently asked questions regarding BCS levy

Frequently asked questions regarding BCS levy
Posted on 09/29/2021
Bellefontaine Elementary students

On November 2nd, 2021, Bellefontaine voters will be asked to consider a Substitute Emergency Operating Levy for the Bellefontaine City Schools. It will be a replacement of an existing emergency operating levy. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the levy and how the funds will be used to support the quality education provided to our community’s children.



What is the District asking for?

The Bellefontaine City Schools Board of Education has placed a Substitute Emergency Operating Levy on the Tuesday, November 2nd ballot.

This Substitute Emergency Operating Levy will replace an existing Emergency Operating Levy that was originally passed in 2007. It was successfully renewed by voters in 2011 and again in 2016. Essentially, the Substitute Levy is a continuation or renewal of the Emergency Levy that was approved by voters in 2007 with the exception that it can capture new revenue when new homes and new business/industry buildings are built in the district.

The Substitute Emergency Operating Levy will collect the same dollar amount annually, $1.185 million that taxpayers are currently paying and that will not change. The Substitute Levy addresses new growth and allows the district to capture additional revenue WITHOUT negatively impacting current home and business owners. This allows the collection to be divided up among more entities.

What is an emergency levy?

An emergency levy is a type of operating levy. The word Emergency is a term that must be used according to State law for this kind of operating levy. It does not mean the district is in an unexpected emergency situation. It is submitted to the voters as a fixed dollar amount. While a millage amount will appear on the ballot, it is only an estimate based on the current tax valuation. The mills are adjusted annually to bring in the approved amount. If property values rise, the tax rate for the levy is lowered so taxes collected within the district do not rise during the life of the levy.

Why is a levy necessary now?

The original Emergency Operating Levy that was passed in 2007 and renewed in 2011 and again in 2016 is set to expire at the end of collection year 2022. The decision was made to ask voters to consider a Substitute Emergency Operating Levy that will collect the same amount as the original levy while also providing for growth through new construction.

How much will the levy cost me?

Your taxes will not increase as a result of this Substitute Emergency Operating Levy if you had an existing home under the original levy.

What happens if the levy fails?

Should the levy not be successful on November 2nd, given the importance of the funding generated from the levy and the need to stabilize the District’s finances going forward, it would be recommended to the Board to put the levy before voters again in May 2022.

How will the funds from the levy be used in the Bellefontaine City Schools?

The goal of the district is to provide excellent educational programming for all students. The funds generated will be used for the daily operating expenses of the district in support of the excellent educational opportunities. Daily operating expenses include 1) excellent educational programs, 2) utilities, 3) transportation, 4) textbooks, 5) building/grounds maintenance and cleaning, 6) staff, and, 7) classroom expenses. Every dollar raised in Bellefontaine stays in Bellefontaine. Not one dollar will go to Columbus or Washington.

Are the Bellefontaine City Schools spending my tax dollars wisely?

With the exception of the Bond Issues for the high school renovations and construction of the new elementary and middle schools, the district has only asked taxpayers for new, additional operating money twice, once in 2007 and in 2019, in the last twenty-nine years! Our school board has done an excellent job controlling costs over the years. Think about what has happened to costs over those 29 years! Whether it’s insurance, personnel costs, supplies, materials, utilities, transportation, etc., inflationary costs impact school districts just as they do any homeowner or business. With rising operating expenses over many years, minimal increases in state and local funding, and reductions in federal funding, the district must ask taxpayers to maintain current operating expenses.

Where have costs increased over time for the district?

Rising special education caseloads and expenses
Costs associated with student social and emotional issues
School and student safety expenses
Credit recovery programs
Rising personnel costs
Online schooling through the district VLA program
Students participating in the open enrollment out program

Is there a break in taxes for senior citizens?

The state offers the Homestead Exemption program for senior citizens, disabled persons, and surviving spouses. If a person qualifies, the homestead exemption provides a reduction of the real estate taxes. Based on a person’s income and location, a year’s exemption could be $495.00 (approximation). To qualify for the homestead exemption, the following criteria must be met:

- Be at least 65 years of age during the year in which you first file, or be permanently and totally disabled, or be a surviving spouse (of at least 59 years of age) of a previous applicant.

- Have a total of not more than $32,800 Adjusted Gross Income on your State Tax return.

- Own and occupy your primary place of residence as of January 1st of the year you file.

- If the above criteria are met, a Homestead Exemption Application Form should be filed with Jack Reser, Logan County Auditor, on or before the first Monday in June. For instructions, see the form or contact the Logan County Auditor’s Office at 937-599-7209.

What will the ballot language look like for the levy?

SAMPLE BALLOT

Bellefontaine City School District

Proposed Tax Levy (Substitute)

A MAJORITY AFFIRMATIVE VOTE IS NECESSARY FOR PASSAGE

Shall a tax levy substituting for an existing levy be imposed by the Bellefontaine City School District for the purpose of providing for the necessary requirements of the school district in the initial sum of one million, one hundred eighty-five thousand dollars ($1,185,000) and a levy of taxes to be made outside of the ten-mill limitation estimated by the county auditor to require three and eight-tenths (3.8) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to thirty-eight cents ($0.38) for each one hundred dollars of valuation for the initial year of the tax, for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2022, first due in calendar year 2023, with the sum of such tax to increase only if and as new land or real property improvements not previously taxed by the school district are added to its tax list?

FOR THE TAX LEVY

AGAINST THE TAX LEVY


How can people help with the levy?

The most important action a community member can take is to learn about the levy and talk to people about the importance of the levy.

In addition, we have a strong campaign in place that will start getting the word out more aggressively in the coming days. We will be making phone calls, posting yard signs, having a presence on social media, newspaper, and the radio. We will be mailing postcards to absentee and early voters and speaking to community organizations.

Check out the district’s website of Facebook page for more information.

To learn more specific ways to get involved, contact any building principal or the superintendent.
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