School district seeking 4.1-mill levy
The Marysville Exempted Village School District is asking voters to approve a 4-mill operating levy on Nov. 6 to offset funds lost when Ohio began to eliminate the Tangible Personal Property Tax in 2008.
"I've often said that we are the poster child for doing more with less," said district Superintendent Diane Mankin. "But it's just gotten to the point where if we're going to continue to achieve an 'Excellent with Distinction' rating, we needed more funding."
If passed, the 4-mill levy will generate $2.7 million and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $122.50 per year.
The school district has saved $6.9 million since 2007 in several different ways including: no staff raises or step pay increases for last two years; significant increases in employee paid portion of health insurance premiums; elimination of 23 positions since 2009; reduction of positions through attrition; and, increased energy savings and efficiencies.
Mankin pointed out that her district spent only an average of $7,935 per student each year and still managed to meet 26 out of 26 indicators to earn the rank of 'Excellent with Distinction.' By comparison, Dublin spends $11,304, Hilliard $9,922, Fairbanks $9,444 and North Union $8,333.
Marysville school board President Jeff Mabee said the funding situation is frustrating.
"We've worked so hard to achieve that 'Excellent with Distinction' rating," Mabee said. "And to come to the point where we might not be able to operate at the highest level, that would be disappointing.
"But, on the other side of that, I take my hat off to our staff. We've done more with less funding than I could ever imagine. We don't have employees who say, 'That's not my job. I'm not going to do it.' If a job needs to be done, they do it."
The school district estimates it lost $1.8 million in TPP funds in the past two years and that it will lose an additional $450,000 per year until the TPP is phased out entirely.
"It's just gotten to the point where we can't save or cut our way out of this deficit," Mabee said.
In mid-September the district got a boost when the board of the Union County Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution in support of the levy.
"Our local schools are essential to the economic development, growth and quality of life of Union County," said chamber board president Jacquey Yoder. "The Chamber Board encourages voters to vote in favor of the levy so Marysville Schools can continue providing our children an excellent education."
Yoder and the board said the district has proven "good stewards of its financial resources."
Levy funds will be used for daily operating expenses and for educational materials.
If the levy fails, cuts would be required in both staffing and programming that could, according to Yoder, "result in higher classroom size, reduced opportunities for students and a lower credit rating, ultimately costing the residents of the school district."
The district is conducting a series of informational meetings in Marysville throughout the month, including:
Oct. 9: Mill Valley Elementary PTO, 7 p.m.
Oct. 17: Marysville Business Association, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 22: Union County 912, Marysville Library, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 23: Navin Elementary PTO, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 24: Northwood Elementary PTO, 7 p.m.