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March 2020 Levy Information

History of the Levies Up for Renewal

The Logan Elm Board of Education is asking voters to renew an emergency levy and 1% income tax on March 17th. We want to provide some history on the two levies.

The emergency levy originally passed in February 1990. Agendas from meetings held at each elementary school in January 1990 shed light on those times. The school district was literally broke, borrowing money from the bank to cover payroll and other operating costs. Teachers and other employees had endured a two-year wage freeze. The kindergarten schedule had changed to every other day. Field trips and athletic busing had been eliminated. If the levy failed in February 1990, the District was going to reduce personnel across the board and notify the Mid-State League of non-participation in sports for the 1990-91 season.

The 1% income tax originally passed in November 2005. It took four tries over two years to pass this levy. Previous failures forced the District to make budget cuts, including the elimination of 18 teaching positions and Board funding of extracurricular activities (a reduced slate of activities was offered during the 2005-06 school year thanks to athletic and music boosters' donations). The Ohio Department of Education placed the District in “Fiscal Caution” and was monitoring its finances monthly. If the levy failed in November 2005, the District was going to eliminate elementary art, music and physical education among other cuts.

As you can see, Logan Elm Schools were facing dire financial circumstances when the emergency levy and 1% income tax originally passed. The two levies are still necessary today. They currently provide 16% of our operating revenue and generate over $3.4 million per year. We do not want to return to the circumstances faced in 1990 or 2005. That is why voters will be asked to renew the emergency levy and 1% income tax on March 17th.

Frequently Asked Questions

Logan Elm Local Schools

March 2020 Levy Renewals

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

What does Logan Elm have on the ballot in March?

Voters will be asked to renew two operating levies.  The first levy is referred to as an emergency levy and is a property tax with an estimated rate of 2.4 mills.  The second levy is a 1% earned income tax.  Both renewals are for 5 years.

 

Are these new levies?

No.  The emergency levy has been in place since 1990.  The 1% income tax has been in place since 2005.  Both levies were originally passed to avoid operating deficits and have been renewed every five years to keep the district afloat.

 

Are these levies tax increases?

No, these renewals would simply keep tax rates the same for 5 more years.

 

What is an “emergency” levy?

An emergency levy is a property tax levy that specifies a dollar amount to be generated each year to avoid an operating deficit.  Logan Elm needed an additional $812,000 each year to avoid an operating deficit 30 years ago.

The word “emergency” may puzzle voters.  An emergency is defined as a serious, unexpected situation that requires immediate action.  Once action is taken, an emergency usually passes.  So why would you need an emergency levy for 30+ years?

  • The School District’s emergency was an impending operating deficit.  Think about your household budget.  If you needed a certain amount of money 30 years ago to make ends meet, you most likely need that much and more to make ends meet today.  The same is true for Logan Elm Schools.  We continue to rely on this $812,000 to balance our operating budget each year.

 

What is an earned income tax?

An earned income tax only applies to the following:

= --Employee compensation such as wages, salaries and tips

=  --Self-employment income from sole proprietorships and partnerships

Logan Elm’s 1% earned income tax does not apply to other items such as retirement income, interest, dividends and capital gains.

 

What is the purpose of these levies?

Both the emergency levy and 1% earned income tax are operating levies.  They pay for ongoing costs including teacher salaries, utilities, upkeep of school facilities, and bus transportation.

 

How do Logan Elm’s taxes compare to area school districts?

The School District looked at its taxes and local report card rating compared to surrounding districts when recently working with Baird on a bond rating.  The following chart shows what our average taxpayer would pay if they moved their house and income to each district.  Amounts include all property and income taxes paid from living in the respective school district, except city income tax and county sales tax.

 

As you can see, Logan Elm has the 6th most affordable taxes out of the 20 districts shown.  Logan Elm has the lowest taxes of districts receiving a “B” or better on the local report card.  This comparison includes the emergency levy and 1% earned income tax up for renewal.

 

Why did my tax bill go up (or down) this year?

Homeowners recently received their first half property tax bill.  Property tax is a product of tax rates and property value.  Changes in either can cause your taxes to go up or down.  Here are a couple items that may have affected the amount of property tax you’ll pay in 2020:

  • Hocking County went through triennial update in 2019.  The County Auditor adjusts property values upon triennial update based on sales that have taken place in the past three years.  Most homeowners would have seen an increase due to a strong housing market in recent years.
  • The School District’s overall property tax rate went down primarily because we were able to secure a better than expected interest rate on our bonds.  A rate reduction would reduce your taxes if your home value stayed the same.

These changes in property taxes do not erase the need for the emergency levy and 1% earned income tax renewals.


What will happen if the renewal levies fail?

The two renewal levies make up 16% of the District’s operating revenue.  Continuation of these levies is vital to fund our existing instructional and extracurricular programs.  If the levies are not renewed before the end of 2020, the District will lose over $3.4 million per year and have to make substantial budget cuts to make ends meet.

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