LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights [online 5-17-2016]
MAY 17, 2016
- School finances and tax levy
- Facilities Accountability Committee
All board members were present.
After an executive session by the board, a work session was convened to discuss school funding.
School finances and tax levy
Jayne Geneva of the lay finance advisory committee presented a summary of Ohio public school funding. She pointed out several state actions that have created the need for Ohio school boards to continually request new levies. The elimination of tangible property tax; House Bill 920, [A statutory law later incorporated into the Ohio constitution], which doesn't allow the property tax to increase with the increased value of the property; unfunded mandates; and other actions have decreased state funding to local schools. Some of the mandates leading to lower revenues are tax abatements and tax increment financing.
Scott Gainer, the district’s treasurer, explained the district’s revenue sources and expenditures. Revenue comprises property taxes (72 percent), state funding (19 percent), federal funding (one percent) and miscellaneous other funds (eight percent). Expenditures include salaries and benefits (76 percent), purchased services (18 percent), supplies and textbooks (three percent), capital expenses (one percent), and other miscellaneous expenses (two percent).
The CH-UH City School District is 83 percent residential. The district property tax collection rate is 93.41 percent. Although residents have voted a total 139.2 mills of taxation, only 71.29 mills are collected after House Bill 920 rollbacks.
Total state funding of $19 million is reduced by $6.7 million in transfers for school choice programs.
The district has made $5 million in reductions in fiscal year 2016 and $3.25 million in staffing reductions for fiscal year 2017. The last levy was passed in 2011.
The lay finance committee recommended a 5.5 mill levy to be placed on the Nov. 16 ballot. This provides no cushion for 2019, thought to be necessary in previous years.
The board voted unanimously to place the 5.5 mill levy on the fall ballot. Board Member Eric Silverman commented that this is the lowest millage levy in 25 to 30 years. Board Member James Posch stressed that if the levy fails, the board would have to make $5.6 million in cuts.
Facilities Accountability Committee (FAC)
The FAC did not report because it has agreed to look at changes to strengthen and improve the workings of the committee. It will report at a later date.
LWV Observer: Adele Cohn.
These meeting summaries are abstracted from LWV observers’ written reports. The summaries have been edited and prepared by Anne McFarland, Charlene Morse and Maryann Barnes. To receive e-mail postings of full reports, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase.
These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.
League of Women Voters
Observer Corps editor for the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland