The Madison Local Schools Board of Education voted in February to place a 6.99 mill operating levy on the May 4, 2021 ballot. If passed, the new funds will be used to fund the day-to-day operations of the district and help to maintain the programming that currently exists. If this levy does not pass, deep cuts to what the district provides our students will be required. This will include personnel, programs, and services.
If approved, this levy will add $20.39 per month per $100,000 in your home’s appraised value per the County Auditor. You can find your appraised value on the Auditor’s site, https://www.lake.iviewauditor.com/. Look up your listing and click on “Valuation.”
Current projections show the district does not have enough cash and revenue to make it through the 2021-2022 fiscal year. This is after additional cuts are made this spring. State law requires school districts to balance their budgets, which means either more revenue – or additional cuts.
“The district has reduced expenses regularly since 2009, including eliminating 41.5 teaching and 41 non-teaching positions,” says Superintendent Angela Smith. In fact, expenditures this year are actually at the same level that they were in the 2008-2009 school year, despite inflation over this period of 24%.
She continues by adding, “District revenues have declined during this same 12-year period by a little over $200,000. We are operating the district today with less revenue than we had over a decade ago.”
COVID has not helped matters, with additional expenses required for safety measures, online learning, and other expenses. While several stimulus payments have now been received, these in part “reimbursed” the district for previous cuts, and the balance of funds has very specific uses. “We are grateful to have received these extra funds,” continues Mrs. Smith, “but these are one-time payments, and they are desperately needed to cover expenses we would not have had without COVID.”
The way school funding is structured in Ohio, the majority of revenue voted in by taxpayers does not increase with inflation – so $1 million approved by taxpayers in 1989 is still $1 million today. Thus, operating levies often serve as “inflationary adjustments,” helping district revenue “catch up” to expenses that increase on a regular basis.
On average, Ohio school districts return to their taxpayers every 3-4 years for additional funds. Because the Madison school district has reduced expenses regularly, only two levies have been passed since 1989. “In 2017, when we passed the second operating levy in 3 decades, we promised that levy would last four years,” says Mrs. Smith. “WE kept that promise, despite the increased challenges from COVID. But we are now at a point where the additional reductions required if this levy does not pass will cut deeply into what we provide our students.”
These FAQs provide more information. For additional questions, please contact the Madison Local School District Central Office at 440-428-2166.