Q: What is on the November 5 ballot for Bexley City Schools?
A: A 9-mill operating levy.
Q: What is an operating levy? Is this different from a Bond Issue?
A: An operating levy generates funds for the day-to-day operations of the school district like staffing, utilities, and supplies. A bond issue generates funds to specifically be used to fund building improvements, remodels or new construction. In November 2019, the district is only requesting additional operating dollars. A bond issue is needed at some point but at this stage, the district is not yet ready to make a recommendation and is placing a priority on the operating issue.
Q: How much money will this operating levy generate for Bexley City Schools?
A: This operating levy will generate approximately $5 million per year for the school district.
Q: How did the Bexley Board of Education decide on the amount to ask for?
A: The Bexley Board of Education always closely monitors district finances and budget forecasts. Throughout the past year, and with the research and assistance of the community-based Finance Advisory Council, the board members considered several levy options. Ultimately the board settled on the lowest possible scenario to maintain our excellence - a 9-mill operating levy. You can view the district's financial forecast here: Bexley April 2019 Five-Year Forecast
Q: Is this the highest millage ever requested by the district?
A: No. Bexley City Schools has a history of approving levies of 7, 8, and even more than 9 mills.
Q: How much would this levy cost me?
A: The levy will cost residents approximately $315 per year per $100,000 of home market value as determined by the Franklin County Auditor. The collection would begin in 2020.
Q: What do we get if the levy passes?
A: If the levy passes, it provides critical funding for current quality academic programs and services that we value in Bexley. We will continue to provide excellent teachers for our students, up-to-date resources and a technology framework comparable to other top-rated districts in Central Ohio, and the wide range of student activities, such as athletics, theater, clubs, etc. that our community expects.
Q: Does the funding from this levy go straight to our schools?
A: Yes. When you vote for Bexley City Schools, you are voting to send money directly to our local schools. Every dollar supports quality teaching and educational excellence in our Bexley schools; not one penny goes to Washington or Columbus. Levies are a way to keep local dollars local, supporting our local schools.
Q: Why do we need this levy right now?
A: It has been 9 years since our last operating levy. We stretched this levy to last well beyond the three years promised to voters. Since that levy, our schools have received minimal additional funding, have seen rising inflationary costs and an 18% increase in student enrollment. Our school board waited until it was needed to place this issue on the ballot. Our schools need it now.
Q: What will happen if the levy does not pass?
A: If the levy does not pass then we delay the need and possibly make a future ballot issue more expensive for everyone later on because any collection would be delayed. Our schools would face 2-3 million dollars in reducations and reduced opportunities. There is no way around it; every building and classroom would be affected. It would mean a hiring freeze and reduced athletic and extracurricular opportunities. We would fall further behind with technology (our technology is already next to last in Franklin County).
Q: Aren’t cuts just a threat?
A: No. Cuts are the fiscal reality of what our schools are facing and it is simple math; we cannot fund what we cannot afford. By informing the public now, we are being open and transparent about the fiscal reality facing our schools. We cannot maintain and protect current operations if the levy fails.
Q: How is it that has Bexley stayed off the ballot for nine years?
A: Bexley has made no major upgrades to academic programming or technology. Our teachers and staff have received minimal raises. We have had to spend more of our reserves to address inflationary costs, which are out of our control, while seeing an 18% increase in student enrollment. The next ten years show continued student enrollment increases.
Q: Where does the district get its funding?
A: Bexley City Schools receives only 20% of its funding from the state, with 7% from federal and non tax revenue. Bexley residents provide 73% of our funding through property and income tax.
Q: I keep hearing that property values in our district are going up. Shouldn’t this mean the school district is getting more tax revenue?
A: In general, the district does not receive additional revenue as a result of an increase in property values. HB920, which is a law that was passed in 1976, offers relief to taxpayers by restricting much of the growth in property tax revenue from inflation. It limits the dollars collected from a voted tax levy to the amount calculated when the levy was originally passed. Therefore, when property values increase, a reduction factor is applied to lower the effective tax rate to bring in the same amount as when the levy was initially passed. Because voted property tax revenues do not rise with inflation, the amount the school district collects does not grow over the years with inflation.
A 9-mill levy will generate approximately $5 million annually for Bexley City Schools; regardless of what happens to property values in the future, the district will not be able to collect more than this amount from the operating levy.
Q: Does every community member within Bexley City Schools boundaries pay the same tax rate?
A: Yes, everyone pays the same tax rate for the school district. We also pay an income tax to our schools and everyone pays the same 0.75% rate; The only variance is based upon one’s income.
Q: If the levy passes, how long will it be before the board requests additional funds?
A: This levy would allow the district to stay off of the ballot for additional operating dollars for approximately 3 years.
Q: What’s in this for community members without children in our schools?
A: This issue is about maintaining the investment this community has made in the schools. By continuing to invest in our schools, we help to protect the excellent quality of education that also helps maintain strong property values.
Q: What makes a Bexley education exceptional?
Expanded programming and supports in the area of social/emotional learning and mental health.
25 AP Courses
Extensive enrichment programming such as elementary Spanish and STEM courses K-12
Personalized attention through low teacher to student ratio
Extensive opportunities in Visual & Performing Arts, Sports, Clubs
76.5% of teachers hold a Master’s Degree or higher (Source: ODE State Report Card)