The commitment of the Ottawa-Glandorf Schools, in partnership with our families and community, will provide superior educational opportunities for all children, to establish a foundation for a life of learning and personal success.

Levy - Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to submit a question regarding the upcoming income tax levy.

Updated 4-24-2018, 2:45 p.m.

Question:  Why did you choose a traditional tax versus an earned income tax?

Answer:  Ohio Revised Code does not allow tax levies with both bases.  Our original income tax is based on traditional income, so this one also had to be a traditional.


If our expenses are higher than our revenue, why are we spending money on College Credit Plus (CCP) to provide college education to high school students?

What would be a reason that Continental would have a cost of over 3000.00 more per student?

Does this increase bring the total income tax up to 1%; or is this a 1% increase added to the previous income tax?

Higher health care costs are noted as a primary driver of increased expenses. Are any of these increases passed through to teachers/employers? If so, what percentage/amount?

Why do we need money now?

How does this affect SS income and other retirement income, IE. 401k withdrawals?

With the election fast approaching how frequently are questions/answers updated?

If we are able to pass this 1% income tax increase, will we have sufficient funds to hire a fourth English teacher at the high school?

With property taxes rising significantly this year (mine went up over $400) how much additional revenue do you expect the schools to receive next year?

Simply, if you are $1 million expenses-over-income this year, why ask for an additional 1% tax continuously which generates $2.5 million per year? A .5% tax increase would generate $1.25 million, which would allow some wiggle room while still having expenses needing to be under scrutiny, without necessarily needing cuts of anything. Comments?

Why is this a continuing tax and not for a specific number of years?

Would we have been able to issue a levy for ¾? Would that amount be allowed?

 

There appears to be a significant increase in teacher salaries across the last two fiscal years. What accounts for this increase?

 

It has been noted that the School system used a consulting firm to help verify it’s financial needs. Can the results of the consultant be made public?

 

What is the current budget for all extra-curricular activities?  And what is the graduation rate of the current senior class, if graduation was today?

It was mentioned tonight that the costs for students to attend the Millstream Career Center come directly from the general fund vs a levy like some other districts in the area. How many mills of property tax would be required to join a Joint Vocational School like Apollo or Vantage? How would that compare to what it costs for Millstream now?

We hear all about declining revenues and increasing expenses, we get that. But, what are the options being discussed for potential cuts/savings if levy fails?


Question: If our expenses are higher than our revenue, why are we spending money on College Credit Plus (CCP) to provide college education to high school students?

Answer: College Credit Plus (CCP) is a program established through legislation that began in the 2015-16 school year and allows students in grades 7 -12 to take college courses at no cost to them.  While this is a great opportunity for college-bound students, expenses for tuition and books are paid by their public schools, regardless of the incomes of students’ families.  School districts are required to participate in the program and receive no additional state funding.  They also have no control over how many or which students may participate.  As long as the student qualifies for a particular college’s admission, they may enroll.

 

If you are opposed to this program, please contact your state legislators.


 

Question: What would be a reason that Continental would have a cost of over 3000.00 more per student?

Answer: OG Schools continues to strive to be good stewards of the funds we receive, and our spending per pupil is significantly below the state average, and is the lowest in the county.  We feel this is a good indicator of the fiscal responsibility we strive to deliver to our district residents.   We can only give reasons for the Ottawa-Glandorf Local Schools cost per student.  The information provided about spending per pupil was provided by our consultant David Conley, and was pulled from the District Profile Report or Cupp Report, which is compiled by the Ohio Department of Education. 


Question: Does this increase bring the total income tax up to 1%; or is this a 1% increase added to the previous income tax? 

Answer: If the income tax levy passes in May, it would add 1% to our existing .5% income tax.  This would bring the total tax to 1.5%.  Here is a chart showing the current income tax rates and per pupil amount raised by an income tax for all of the county schools.

chart1


Question: Higher health care costs are noted as a primary driver of increased expenses. Are any of these increases passed through to teachers/employers? If so, what percentage/amount?

Answer: All employees who take part in the school district offered health care plans pay for a portion of the premium.  The amount and percentage are determined by the plan type, and if the employee is electing to take single or family coverage.

Our certified employees (teachers and administrators) have two health insurance plan options.  The first option is a PPO plan in which the employee contributes 15% of the premium.  The second option is a High Deductible Plan with an HSA, and the employee pays for 7% of the premium.  The Board also contributes $3,000 toward the HSA for a family plan and $2,000 toward the HSA for a single insurance plan.

Our classified employees also have two health insurance plan options.  For all of our classified employees, the percentage an employee contributes toward the health care premium is based on the number of hours per day and the number of days per year the employee works.  As an example a 9 month employee working 5 hours per day would contribute 25% of the premium for the PPO health care plan, or they would contribute 20% of the premium for the High Deductible plan.  The Board contributes $1,500 toward the HSA for a family plan and $1,000 toward the HSA for a single plan.


Question:  Why do we need money now?

Answer:

  • We added an all-day every-day kindergarten program needed to ensure our kids get a good start and can meet state requirements.  A three-year federal grant that covered these costs (and more) in the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years has expired.  All of these expenses now come from our general fund.
  • $160,000 in the 2016-17 school year for kindergarten only
    • Because of the new focus on technology in the classrooms, a 1:1 initiative was introduced that puts an iPad in the hands of every high school student to use new teaching methods.  A large number of Chromebooks have also been purchased for elementary buildings and mandatory testing.
    • $404,000 between July 2014 and March 2018 from the general fund
    • Federal Healthcare Reform has added additional costs for covering children through age 26.  This has been a contributing factor to premium increases of 16%, 30% and 15% over the last three years.
    • An increase of $75,000 in 2014-15, $252,000 in 2015-16, and $333,000 in 2016-17
    • Changes in the state budget have increased our district’s expenses for College Credit Plus (CCP), Peterson Scholarships, testing, and more without increasing their funding to us.
    • CCP is projected to increase by $65,000 this year.
    • Peterson and Autism scholarships are projected to increase by $57,000 this year
    • Revenue has risen an average of 4.24% over the past four years; expenditures have risen 5.75%
    • Revenue rose from $11,593,772 in 2012-13 to $13,561,109 in 2016-17
    • Expenditures rose from $11,399,442 in 2012-13 to $14,019,063 in 2016-17

We need to be able to provide our Ottawa-Glandorf students with educational opportunities that will prepare them for whatever they want to do in the future, whether that’s entering the workforce, attaining higher education or training, or enlisting in the military.  It is critical that we generate new revenue to cover the expenses needed to provide those opportunities.  Without additional revenue, Ottawa-Glandorf will be forced to make dramatic changes to programs and services.


Question:  How does this affect SS income and other retirement income, IE. 401k withdrawals?

Answer:  This is an excerpt from the Ohio Department of Taxation's Guide to Ohio's School District Income Tax:
 
"The following list shows some ...types of income and whether they are taxable
(for further detail, consult current federal and state returns):
 
Income that is not taxed:  social security benefi ts; disability and survivor benefits; railroad retirement benefits; welfare benefits; child support, property received as a gift, bequest or inheritance; and workers' compensation benefits.
 
Income that is taxed:  wages; salaries; tips; interest; dividends; unemployment compensation; self-employment to the extent included in OAGI; taxable scholarships and fellowships; pensions; annuities; IRA distributions; capital gains; state and local bond interest (except that paid by Ohio Governments:; federal bond interest exempt from federal tax but subject to state tax; alimony received; and all other sources."
 
If you have additional questions, please contact your tax preparer.

Question: With the election fast approaching how frequently are questions/answers updated? 

Answer: Our goal is to have all questions answered within two business days.


Question: If we are able to pass this 1% income tax increase, will we have sufficient funds to hire a fourth English teacher at the high school?

Answer: At this time, there is not a need for an additional English Teacher at the high school.  In 1999, there were 716 students in the high school, and we needed the equivalent of just under 4.25 staff members to teach the 1999 schedule.  When you compare this to the high school enrollment today of 480 students, with 35 students being enrolled in College Credit Plus English classes outside of the high school, it makes sense to reduce staff in this area.  In addition to the enrollment changes, some classes such as Speech, are now being taught by other staff members outside of the English department.  Our regular English average class size is actually slightly lower than the average class sizes of some of our Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language courses at the high school, and is almost identical to the average English class size in 1999.

In light of changes in enrollment, and shifting some classes out of the English Department, the fiscally responsible thing to do was to reduce staff.  The good part is the district was able to do this through attrition, which meant we did not have to non-renew any staff members. 


Question: With property taxes rising significantly this year (mine went up over $400) how much additional revenue do you expect the schools to receive next year?

 

Answer:.  There are currently four groups of property tax that equal the total amount of the school portion of your property tax bill.  These all assume the property is a home with a sale value of $100,000.  Levies are calculated on assessed valuation, which is 35% of the sale value.  For example, a $100,000 home has an assessed value of $35,000.

 

  1. 1.Emergency levy.This tax began in 1980 as a 3.7 mill issue and collects $451,863 annually for the general operation of the school.As homes are built and the pool of taxpayers increases, your share goes down.This tax rate is currently 2 mills.That means the taxes on your $100,000 home are $70 annually.

(assessed valuation of $35,000 divided by 1,000 x 2)

 

  1. 2.Permanent improvement levy.This tax began in 1979 as a 1.5 mill levy for permanent improvements, repairs, or replacement of buildings and equipment for a fixed rate.Again, as new homes are built in our district, an individual share will be reduced.This tax currently collects at a rate of 0.54 mills (rounded).For a $100,000 home, this would cost $18.97 per year.

(assessed valuation of $35,000 divided by 1,000 x .54)

 

  1. 3.Bond levy.This tax began in 2003 to cover the renovation of the high school, with an additional levy in 2008 to build new elementary buildings.This tax collects just enough to make bond (mortgage) payments.The district was also required to pass a .5 mill maintenance levy when we constructed the elementary schools which collects a fixed dollar amount.The current millage for residential property is 5.43 mills (rounded), resulting in a tax of $189.92 annually.

(assessed valuation of $35,000 divided by 1,000 x 5.43)

 

  1. 4.General / current expenses.This tax rate is currently at 20 mills and by law can go no lower.All increases in property valuation, yours or your neighbor’s, will result in an increase in your property taxes.Conversely, a reduction of valuation (as was seen in this year’s total agricultural valuations) will result in lower taxes.For every $100,000 of assessed valuation you pay $700 annually.

(assessed valuation of $35,000 divided by 1,000 x 20)

 

In this example, the total tax bill is $978.89 for the entire year.  Of this, the school can use $770.00 for its normal day to day operations.  In addition, this tax bill is reduced by 12.5% if the property is owner-occupied.  That portion of your tax is paid by the state.  In this case, the net tax bill is $856.53.

 

Also, please remember that while a large portion of your property tax funds the local school district, it is also used to support Brookhill, the health department, mental health, 911 service, and others.  Your actual tax bill has these listed on it.

 

Every six years the county auditor must do a complete reappraisal of district properties.  A less formal ‘update’ is done three years after the reappraisal.  Because we are at the 20 mill floor as indicated in #4 above, any increase resulting from that reappraisal will result in additional tax dollars.  A 2017 full reappraisal impacted taxes paid in 2018.  Assessed property values increased by $3.8 million.  At the 20 mill rate, that equates to a $76,000 increase.

(assessed valuation of $3,800,000 divided by 1,000 x 20)

 

 

Now, take into consideration that a portion of that valuation increase came from new construction.  Historically, new construction adds between $30,000 and $35,000 in additional taxes every year.  (See chart below.)  The difference between the $76,000 reappraisal increase and the amount from new construction means the increased valuation of existing properties added just over $40,000.

 

Year

New Construction

@ 20 mills

2017

1,678,220

33,564

2016

1,621,090

32,422

2015

1,690,460

33,809

2014

1,776,860

35,537

2013

1,877,050

37,541

2012

1,345,980

26,920

 

 

Unfortunately, the flip side of that coin is that if our rate of increased value is greater than the state’s increased value, the state will reduce its funding to us, as it will deem our district to be of increased wealth.  We may not recognize a net increase at all!

 

Typical property valuation increases do little to impact our annual expenses of $14 million.

______________________________ ______________________________ _________
 

Question: Simply, if you are $1 million expenses-over-income this year, why ask for an additional 1% tax continuously which generates $2.5 million per year? A .5% tax increase would generate $1.25 million, which would allow some wiggle room while still having expenses needing to be under scrutiny, without necessarily needing cuts of anything. Comments?

 

Answer: This is a complex question.  First, I’d like to point out that a five-year forecast is submitted to the Ohio Department of Education every October after it’s been approved by the Board.  This forecast, which was reviewed by an outside consultant and is posted to the school website, shows that the district will run out of operating funds during the 2019-20 school year.  We are projected to operate this year with expenditures exceeding revenue by $1,000,000, and by an additional $1,500,000 in the 2018-19 school year.  Already, by the second year, a .5% income tax bringing in $1.25 million would not cover that year’s projected deficit.

 

Equally important to consider is the time it takes to collect a new income tax.  A tax passed in May 2018 would become effective on January 1, 2019.  According to the timeline provided by the Ohio Department of Taxation at https://www.tax.ohio.gov/portals/0/tax_analysis/tax_ data_series/school_district_ data/timeline.pdf

we would expect to bring in about $150,000 (5.9%) during the 2018-19 school year.  We would bring in $1,775,000 (70.4%) during the 2019-20 school year.  Finally, during the 2020-21 school year, the collections would reach $2,522,000, the full collection.

 

Assuming the forecast remains unchanged, only adding the additional income tax, the deficit in 2018-19 changes from $1,539,000 to $1,390,000.  The deficit for 2019-20 goes from $2,244,000 to $571,000.  Finally, in 2020-21 we see a surplus of $122,000. 

 

This income tax, the first new operating money requested since 1992, is critically necessary.

______________________________ ______________________________ ____
 

Question: Why is this a continuing tax and not for a specific number of years?

 

Answer: While some district residents may not be supportive of a continuing tax, the need for this money is real and ongoing as supported by the five-year forecast.  We have not asked for new operating money since 1992, 26 years ago. 

 

If we selected a 5-year levy and a renewal in five years were to fail, the district would have a very short period of time to determine what to do about the loss of $2.5 million in revenue.  The cuts would be VERY deep and may not even be achievable. 

 

On the other hand, if we find out that this income tax brings in more money than is needed at some point there are two options.  One, without going to the ballot, the school board may reduce the rate of the income tax in ¼% increments.  Two, a referendum for the repeal of the tax can be attempted. 

 

Ultimately, the Board decision was made to ask for a continuous tax, one that would provide a consistent stream of income to be used in long-term financial planning and one that would sustain us for many years to come.

________________________________________________________________

 

Question: Would we have been able to issue a levy for ¾?  Would that amount be allowed?

 

Answer: The income tax must be set in increments of ¼%.  1% is the amount needed to cover our foreseeable shortfalls without generating excess revenue and still requiring the district to make decisions to offset additional shortcomings.  Anything less than 1% does not provide adequate revenue.


 

Question: There appears to be a significant increase in teacher salaries across the last two fiscal years. What accounts for this increase?

 

Answer:  As with many negotiated agreements, a salary schedule is in place that sets the salary for all teachers depending on their education and years of experience. Teachers with fewer years of experience get frequent increases per the schedule; teachers with more experience may go for up to ten years with no schedule increase.

 

The next factor that affects salaries are negotiated increases.  A negotiated salary increase raises each point in the salary schedule by that percentage. 

 

Negotiated salary increases for the last six years follow in the table below.  Negotiations will begin soon for the 2018-19 school year.

 

2017-18 - 1.75%

2016-17 - 1.75%

2015-16 - 1.75%

2014-15 - 0.50%

2013-14 - 0.50%

2012-13 - 0.75%

 

Increases in the number of students may also translate to the need for more teachers.  For example, increased numbers of regular education and special education students in the 2016-17 school year resulted in the hiring of three additional teachers at Glandorf Elementary and one at Ottawa Elementary.

 

The increase in teacher salaries for the 2015-16 school year was less than $2,000 over the previous year.  Although the number of teachers stayed the same and there was a 1.75% negotiated increase, teachers who retired with more years of experience were replaced by teachers with less experience, resulting in very little change in cost.

 

Staffing is monitored very closely and additional teachers are only hired if absolutely necessary.


 

Question:   It has been noted that the School system used a consulting firm to help verify it’s financial needs.  Can the results of the consultant be made public?

 

Answer:   At the December 12, 2017 Board meeting, the district entered into a one-year agreement with Rockmill Financial Consulting, LLC.  David Conley of Rockmill has been working with Ottawa-Glandorf since the high school was renovated in 2003.  Since then he has helped us issue the bonds to build the new elementary schools and has refunded bonds three times, saving us millions of dollars by paying off higher-interest bonds and replacing them with lower-interest bonds when interest rates fell.  (This is similar to refinancing a home when interest rates drop.)  Mr. Conley is working for you, the taxpayers of this district, to find solutions to our deficit problem while keeping taxes as low as possible.

 

Mr. Conley presented his analysis on OG’s financial condition at the February 5, 2018 Board meeting.  His presentation was recorded and that video, along with his Powerpoint presentation, is posted on the school’s website.

 

NOTE:  A community meeting for the public will be held on Monday, April 16th, at 7:00 at Ottawa Elementary that will include a presentation by Mr. Conley.  Please come to hear what he has to say and take this opportunity to ask questions.

 


  

Question:  What is the current budget for all extra-curricular activities?  And what is the graduation rate of the current senior class, if graduation was today?

 

Answer:   Salaries for extra-curricular positions are set in the teachers’ negotiated agreement and, as such, are paid from the general fund.  Salaries and benefits are paid for the following positions:  advisors for Quiz Bowl, National Honor Society, Science Olympiad and Science Fair, student councils, yearbook and class advisors, summer band, show choir and Dinner Theatre, pep band, the senior musical, athletic directors, and athletic coaches.  All other expenses (uniforms, officials, fees, equipment, transportation, etc.) are paid from special funds with money raised specifically by and for those groups through ticket sales and fundraisers.  This includes season tickets.

Booster groups and community organizations are very generous in supporting our academic and athletic programs.  However, those funds are not used for salaries and benefits.

During the 2016-17 school year, the amount spent from the general fund for those positions was $435,000.

As for the graduation rate, many students will not meet the graduation requirements until the completion of the current semester.  Therefore, there is no way to provide a graduation rate as of 4/17/18.  However, the most recent graduation rate for Ottawa-Glandorf High School was 97% for the Class of 2017. 

 


  

Question:  It was mentioned tonight that the costs for students to attend the Millstream Career Center come directly from the general fund vs a levy like some other districts in the area. How many mills of property tax would be required to join a Joint Vocational School like Apollo or Vantage? How would that compare to what it costs for Millstream now?

Answer:   The estimates are that the district would need to pass 2 - 2.2 mills of additional property tax to join Apollo.  Apollo has recently passed a bond issue and constructed new facilities, so the OG district may also need to pass additional millage to "buy in" to the Apollo district.  This would cost the district roughly $225,000 more than we are currently spending at Millstream.  One big difference in the cost factor is that Apollo would be an all day program and the students would take all of their academic and lab classes there.  Millstream is a 1/3 day program, and the OGHS students attending there, take all of their academic courses here at the high school. 


 

Question:  We hear all about declining revenues and increasing expenses, we get that. But, what are the options being discussed for potential cuts/savings if levy fails?

 

Answer:  Because October's five-year forecast projected a deficit cash balance for the end of the 2019-20 school year, the Board was required to adopt and submit a plan on how to avoid that deficit.  This link, already on our website, will bring you to the plan that was submitted by the Board in December and was subsequently approved by the Department of Education.
 
 
If this levy fails, Board discussions will begin immediately to specifically identify cost-cutting measures for the upcoming school year.
 

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