updated: October 5, 2018
Question: I heard the school district has a levy on the November ballot. Is that true?
Answer: Yes. The November 6th ballot issue is a combined 1-mill operating levy and a $55.25 million bond issue.
Question: The school district has stated this combined levy is a 5.84-mill bond levy and a 1-mill operating levy. Is that the millage that will show up on the ballot?
Answer: The ballot will reflect a 1 mill operating levy and a 7.5 mill bond levy. The school district has a current 1.66 bond levy that expires in 2019, so the net increase in the bond is 5.84 mills.
Question: Why does the school district need a new operating levy?
Answer: Operating levies fund the day-to-day expenses of the school district including teachers, utilities, and supplies. Because of the impact of a state law known as House Bill 920, the school district generally does not receive inflationary increases on tax levies. As a result, school districts are faced with returning to voters periodically to secure additional operating funds.
Question: How long has it been since the last new operating levy?
Answer: It has been four years. The last operating levy was approved by voters in 2014 at 5.9 mills.
Question: How does this operating levy compare to past operating levies?
Answer: This 1-mill operating levy is the lowest operating levy request in more than 70 years.
Question: What is a bond levy?
Answer: A bond levy is a tax that would generate funds for a set period of time to pay the debt payments on a facility project (similar to a home mortgage) and then expires.
Question: Why does the school district need a bond levy?
Answer: Grandview Heights Schools’ facilities are not serving the needs of today’s students and are on average 90 years old. The district can’t provide a 21st-century education in 20th-century schools. With more than $44 million in needed repairs to ensure the schools are meeting basic operation standards and only $540,000 available to address these needs, the time to preserve the excellence in our schools is now. Without this plan, the district would be faced with having to divert operating funds to address critical facility needs in the future. Delaying the project or electing a piecemeal approach will be more expensive and will cost residents more in the long run.
Question: What will the bond levy fund?
Answer: The bonds will generate $55.25 million to fund safety and security upgrades to all school buildings, build a new fourth through eighth-grade school, and comprehensively renovate Grandview Heights High School. Specifically, this bond issue will allow the district to:
Question: What will the construction timeline look like?
Answer: Here is the general timeline for the overall project:
Question: Will students be placed in modular classrooms during the project?
Answer: No. Modular classrooms will not be used during the construction/ renovation of the facilities. Students will remain in our existing school buildings throughout the entire process.
Question: How was the facility plan developed?
Answer: The facility plan was developed in cooperation with the community. For the past three years, the district held multiple community facility meetings, building tours, focus groups, community surveys, and community coffees. All told, more than 3,600 touch points with the community helped the district develop a master facilities plan.
Once a general plan was created, the district created a community Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) to review the plan and make recommendations to the superintendent. This group included a wide range of residents with proven expertise in business with financial and leadership backgrounds. The FAC spent countless hours sifting through a tremendous amount of data, talking to each other about many different aspects of this project, and put their personal agendas aside to create recommendations that would not only serve the needs of the school district but also serve the interest of all residents and taxpayers.
Question: Is it true the addition on the existing middle school is not even paid off yet?
Answer: The existing bond issue that financed the middle school gym and commons area will be paid off in 2019.
Question: What happens if voters approve the issue?
Answer: Then Grandview Heights Schools will have the funds necessary to preserve the excellence that is a hallmark of the school system. The district can bring the school facilities up to modern day standards as well as maintain current levels of programs and staffing.
Question: What happens if voters do not approve the issue?
Answer: Then the district would be forced to divert operating dollars away from the classroom and into addressing the critical repair needs. This may mean fewer opportunities for students in the future.
Question: How can I vote in the November 6 election?
Answer: The first step is to make sure you are registered to vote or that your voter registration is up to date. Some people think they are registered to vote and are surprised to find out they are not. Others may have changed their address or name and simply need to update their registration records. You may verify and update your voter registration records online at https://olvr.sos.state.oh.us
Question: How much will the levy cost me?
Answer: The levy will cost residents an additional $239 per $100,000 of property value.
Question: The Franklin County Auditor’s online Levy Estimator is showing the cost of this levy as more than $239 per $100,000 of property value.
Answer: It’s important to understand two key points with the online levy estimator: