Friday, March 2, 2012


By Carla G. Surber, Treasurer of Greenville City Schools

One thing that I like about Darke County and Greenville is when something doesn’t make sense to others, it often doesn’t make sense to me. I generally understand why people think and feel the way they do in this community. This was very true this last week when the levy committee sent out cards with pictures addressing the school tax renewal currently on the ballot. Call after call was transferred into my office from individuals questioning the lack of information regarding the levy. The card had no numbers about the cost of the levy. As calls came, I explained to each individual, that the levy committee puts together their brochures in the manner they see fit. I can only guess that the committee thought everyone probably knew all the details and that this was more of a reminder to vote.

With all that aside, I have been requested to give information on this levy and spell out all the details; I will respond to questions that I have been asked.

First thing…. It is definitely a renewal as listed under the Ohio Revised Code. What does a renewal really mean? This renewal levy brings in the same dollars, a total of 1.64 million, to the school district each year the levy is in place. It is currently costing the taxpayer $130.00 per year on a $ 100,000 home. There is no inflation in the request, just like social security has worked in recent years. The school can’t get more money than was originally voted.

The main thing taxpayers want to know is if they will pay more next year. If you vote for this renewal, your tax bill won’t change much, if at all, based on lowering appraisals.

The farmland increase this year was offset by the reduction in home and business values. The school district actually decreased over 11 million dollars in value. This is the equivalent of 324 average homes being bulldozed in the community.

Why do we need to continue this levy?

When the levy was originally passed, it was unknown whether the State of Ohio was going to continue to fund schools at the same levels. We have taken some reductions of funding over the years while working at reducing spending. We must do more with less. No more stimulus money. No more personal property money. The list of losses goes on and on.

For the first seven months of this year, our general fund is down over a million dollars. Our school district was charged to make a plan to do further reductions without impacting education. Governments at all levels are trying to trim back, very much like many of us are doing at home.

As for the number of years? That changed from the first levy. The School Board, in 2009, wanted a 3-year plan in order to assess what the State of Ohio was going to do. The decision to lengthen the time was based on constantly going to the voters over and over again and creating election costs unnecessarily. A 10-year plan will reduce the costs of elections and leave more money to be used for education. Hopefully the economy will regain its strength solving the long-term battle over school funding.

Sometimes words can’t create a picture, but can allow you to make sound decisions. I hope that this gives you additional information about this levy!

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