Issue 6 - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is on the November 8 ballot?
A: The district will be on the ballot for a new levy of 6.93 mills to maintain daily operations, including teachers and staff, programs and utilities.
Q: Why now?
A: After years of streamlining expenses and maintaining a lean budget, in order to maintain our high quality schools, the district is seeking additional funds. This is mainly due to state funding not keeping pace with inflation or enrollment increases. In addition, local property taxes do not grow with home value.
Q: What happened to the money districts received from the federal government during COVID?
A: We are extremely appreciative of the funds received from the federal government through the CARES Act, which helped us keep up with increases in cost in order to meet students' needs. However, these funds represent a one time influx in funds and are not ongoing.
Where we spent it:
$340,092.13 → spent to address learning loss, floating substitute teachers,online support materials, PPE/supplies
$262,509.71 → spent on student safety, supplies, substitute teachers
Overall $3,100,912.33 → budgeted to support learning loss interventions, floating substitute teachers, physical safety/PPE/supplies, air purifiers, chemicals, social, emotional, & academic needs, addressing the major impact of underrepresented student subgroups, health concerns/mental health
Q: How has the district stretched the levy cycle?
A: We strive to live within our means and make sound financial decisions to balance our budget. We have stretched the levy cycle by being conservative in the annual increase to our overall budget, such as, zero based budgeting, which ensures that we think about how every dollar is spent, every budgeting period. We’ve enacted significant cost savings measures which resulted in a $4.2 million reduction in energy savings. At the same time, district revenues have not kept pace with inflation.
Q: What about school funding? I heard there’s a new state school funding plan.
A: House Bill 110, also known as Ohio’s two-year budget bill covering fiscal years 2022 and 2023, was enacted June 30, 2021. It includes a new school funding model, the Fair School Funding Plan. The new plan takes into consideration a district's wealth to tax ratio and community members’ ability to pay.
The funding for this new plan is scheduled to be phased in over a six-year period, however, this funding has only been approved through Ohio’s 2022-2023 budget cycle. This means our district will be even more dependent on local dollars in the coming years as well. .
Q: Why can’t we use the money from the recently passed PI levy?
A: The November 2016 Permanent Improvement (PI) levy was to continually maintain and improve our district’s facilities and items with a useful life over five years, such as buses and technology. This funding is allocated to specific projects and cannot be used for operational expenses.
Q: What happens if the ballot issues pass?
A: The passage of the Nov. 8 ballot issue will ensure the district has the resources necessary to maintain current operations and the educational quality our community expects, including lower class sizes, current transportation routes, and maintaining current staffing levels and programs to help prepare students for college and careers.
Q: What happens if the ballot issues do not pass?
A: Without additional funding for the operating levy, the district will have to make reductions in operating expenses, impacting what we currently offer to students. What we offer to students and families will have to be drastically reduced in order to balance the budget.
Q: What about the Master Facilities Plan?
A: Over the last three years, the district has been meeting with the community to discuss a long-term master facilities plan to address aging facilities. After much consideration and in consultation with the Master Facilities Planning Committee, we agreed that pressing pause on this project allows us to monitor current labor and material costs during a time of record high inflation. The commitment to the plan remains, but it’s important to secure operating funds to ensure fiscal stability to the operating budget.
Q: Why is our school district a good value for taxpayers?
A: Our tax effort is lower than most peer districts, and our schools compete with the top districts in Ohio! Taxpayers can be proud in knowing that resources are being spent effectively and our students are succeeding.
Q: How much will this cost taxpayers?
A: $20 per month per $100,000 of home value.
What’s your plan?
This is the beginning of a two-part process, which is to ensure we continue on a path of fiscal stability and to remain committed to addressing our aging schools. The board of education agreed unanimously that securing operational money is the most fiscally responsible path because it will set us up to manage our buildings adequately in the future.
With the five year forecast showing a deficit in Fiscal Year 2024 it's important to secure operational dollars to maintain the current level of staffing and programs. Without additional funding, the district will have to make reductions to balance the budget, which could result in less programming and staff and larger class sizes. Addressing the most pressing issues - operational funding- is the most fiscally responsible path.
What about enrollment?
Stow Munroe Falls CSD enrollment is increasing because families are moving into our district. We welcome this good news, however, it does cost more to educate our growing student population with no significant increase in revenue - state funding has not kept pace with enrollment increases and local taxes do not increase as home values increase.
What is the financial impact of open enrollment students?
Open enrollment is used to fill empty seats that would otherwise be left unfilled, whether that student comes to our schools or not. We’ve never added staff or kept staff due to open enrollment. The benefit of open enrollment is that it provides our current students with more programs and extracurricular offerings that would not be possible without it.
If this does not pass, what are we doing?
If the levy fails, the need does not go away. In fact, the longer the district waits, the more money this issue will cost taxpayers and/or the district will have to make reductions districtwide to balance the budget.
What about redistricting?
Redistricting discussions have not occurred and depend on the results of a possible bond issue. If and when discussions happen, the community will be involved in the planning process.
Why not go for both levies at once?
After much consideration and in consultation with the Master Facilities Planning Committee, we agreed that pressing pause on this project allows us to monitor current labor and material costs during a time of record high inflation. The commitment to the plan remains, but it’s important to secure operating funds to ensure fiscal stability to the operating budget.
Voter registration deadline: Oct. 11
Early voting starts: Oct. 12
Election Day: Nov. 8