A Permanent Improvement Levy, or PI levy, is a dedicated revenue stream that can only be used for purchases with a useful life of five years or more, such as:
Bus purchases and repairs
The PI funds CANNOT be used for salary and benefits. You can think of the PI funds as a separate checkbook with a lock. Money from the PI levy checkbook cannot be put into the general fund and vice-versa.
This PI levy would allow the district to address capital needs now and in the long term without sacrificing programming. PI dollars can provide new buses to safely transport students, address safety and security to protect our students and community members who use the buildings, ensure the maintenance of all our buildings, and provide technology for enhanced learning opportunities.
It would cost a homeowner of a $100,000 home $70 per year – less than $6 per month or only 19 cents a day. Yet it would generate $544,714 per year for the school district to use to maintain our buses, buildings and technology. A property tax levy has not been voted in or approved in this school district since 1986.
Upper Sandusky Schools spend approximately $300,000 for capital improvements and buildings and grounds and $450,000 for technology each year. These necessary items currently come out of the general fund, which takes away the ability to use these funds for directly educating the students.
Upper Sandusky Schools cover over 214 square miles. We need safe buses to transport our students. In the past we were able to purchase one or two buses every year to keep our fleet newer. Now we are only able to purchase a new bus about every other year as a new bus costs approximately $81,000. As a result, 16 of our 23 buses are ten years old or older and 19 of the buses have over 100,000 miles. 5 buses have over 200,00 miles! Last year our bus repair costs were $106,360.
Where did the state money go?
Under the current State of Ohio administration, funding for traditional public schools has been reduced by nearly half a billion dollars, making it necessary for local communities to bridge the gap. Since the state phased in the Commercial Activity Tax in 2007, our district has lost approximately $8 million due to the accompanying elimination of the Tangible Personal Property Tax.
In addition, the district has experienced inflation in most goods and services purchased, legal requirements and unfunded state mandates all of which add to increased operating costs. For example, Ohio law requires bus transportation for all students in grades K-8 who reside more than two miles from school and public schools must provide the same level of transportation service to nonpublic students as they provide to their own students. Special education services must be provided for all children in the district who qualify under state and federal guidelines, regardless of cost.
What has the district done to save money?
Upper Sandusky EVS has been very proactive in working to reduce expenses, including:
*Not filling all vacated teaching positions.
Why aren’t we building new buildings?
While neighboring districts have qualified for substantial, supplemental grants for new building construction (Carey, 68%; Mohawk, 75%; Riverdale, 75%; Marion, 95%), Upper Sandusky EVS has not. Even if we were to become eligible, the state would only grant about a 50% match. Rather than asking the community for tens of millions of dollars, we are asking for a small amount that will go a long ways in maintaining our infrastructure, transportation and technological systems.
Host a Superintendent Chat!
I am looking for groups or individuals who want to host “Superintendent chats”. During these chats I can share information about the PI levy and Upper Sandusky Schools and answer any questions you may have. I am also extremely interested in listening and gathering information about what YOU want from our schools so that we may continue to improve. Please call the office at 419-294-2306 and my secretary will be happy to help you schedule a chat.
•An operating levy is a tax on homeowners for a continuing period of time or a designated period of time. The tax is paid to the county auditor twice a year via your property bill and disbursed to the school district. An operating levy is generally used for the day to day expenses of the school district.
•An emergency levy is a type of operating levy. It is submitted to the voters as a dollar amount. While a millage amount will appear on the ballot, it is advisory only. The mills are adjusted annually to bring in the amount requested and approved.
•A permanent improvement levy can only be used to construct, add to or repair buildings, lay sidewalks, build parking lots and make many other such improvements to school property and assets. Permanent improvements are generally considered to be items lasting for five years or more. Permanent improvement levies can be continuing or for a designated period of time. The proceeds from a permanent improvement levy can not be used for the district's current operating expenses.
•A bond issue is a tax, the proceeds from which can only be used to retire bonds or notes issued by the board of education to raise funds to pay the direct and related costs of permanent improvements. When the local voters approved the bond issue for the construction of the Harry W. Cooper Annex, it gave the district permission to borrow the money needed to build the addition. When a school district borrows money it is called "selling notes" similar to IOU's. People and investment companies bought the notes and over the next 28 years the district will pay these investors back with tax money collected from the local residents via their property tax payments.
•The major difference between a levy and a bond issue is when the district will get the money. A levy generates money to be received every year as tax bills are paid. A bond issue generates all the money at one time to be spent on a particular project and then repaid over the stated period of time.