By Beverly Keller
Voters in the Garaway School District will have a choice to make concerning property taxes on November 6.
“The Board of Education and I, along with treasurer Sheryl Hardesty, have worked really hard to make this levy as conservative as possible,” explained Garaway Superintendent Dr. Jim Millet of the 4-mill ask expected to create a fixed sum of $1,003,982 for Garaway each year if it’s approved by voters.
The levy itself, known as Issue 4 on the ballot, is an emergency levy and will be used for the basic needs of the school. “The State support for Garaway and schools, in general, is on the decline,” Millet explained. “We have been dealing with cuts and unfunded mandates that continue to grow each year for the past several years. Yet, we are expecting more cuts on the horizon.”
Millet notes that the Ohio legislature looks more favorably on large urban districts and hence monies are no longer earmarked for smaller, rural schools, no matter the need.
Millet noted that there are also cuts to Garaway and schools like it from the Federal level. “Last year, Federal funding was significantly cut and no longer provides enough funding to support student needs as we move forward,” he explained.
As they have in the past, the State has started many new initiatives and mandates and passed the cost to school districts like Garaway. “We have a great school and a great community,” Millet shared. The Garaway tradition of excellence needs to continue.”
To that end, Millet noted that careful, frugal spending and utilization of local grant opportunities and the cultivation of relationships with companies have really helped Garaway keep things in check. “We are so thankful to our community businesses like Kimble and ProVia who have pumped funds into our district for things like lighting and windows,” he explained. “We are also equally as thankful to foundations like Rosenberry and Reeves who have provided needed grant dollars to help us obtain needed technology items as well as curriculum pieces.”
Millet reminded that despite the name, the emergency levy is not named because of an emergency situation financially speaking. It is the name given to a property tax levy that has a fixed period of time and is set at a pre-determined amount. While, if the levy is approved, taxes will increase on businesses and homes based on its current appraisal value, it is a one-time increase as the levy can never bring in more than it does on the day it was voted in approved. If the measure is approved and put up for a vote again in ten years when it would expire, it could not bring in more than the $1,003,982 it was originally intended to bring in.
“We want to be fiscally responsible stewards and conservative with taxpayers money,” Millet stated. “This is a very conservative estimate of our needs. It will keep our buildings and grounds viable and functional and enable us to properly maintain our community buildings. We are really proud of what we have been able to do so far and we believe that the community can and should be proud as well.”
Millet indicated that, if approved, some of the funds would be earmarked for increased safety. “We just don’t have the money for it in the budget at this time,” he explained. “We would like to increase school safety with new doors and, eventually, add cameras to the mix,” he said. “Parking lot needs will also be addressed in addition to heating needs.”
The cost of the levy to the owner of a home valued at $100,000 is about $140 per year which breaks down to roughly $11.66 per month. Millet welcomed questions to him directly at the school at 330-852-2421.
This story originally appeared in the October 24, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.