Do you have questions about the upcoming school levy for the
Northwest Local School District?
2019 NWLSD LEVY INFORMATION
In order to maintain our focus and support of students, families and staff, the Northwest Local School District is putting a 7.5 mill levy on the ballot this upcoming November.
The State of Ohio determines the amount a local community should pay to support their schools. The state expects our taxpayers to provide 60% of the cost of a basic education through levies, and currently, the community provides 40% based on existing levies. Northwest LSD community taxes to support schools are one of the lowest in the region. The State continues to reduce the amount they pay to support schools.
Failure to pass the levy would cause the District to make over $8 million in reductions above basic education. This would create detrimental impacts on curricular offerings, increase class sizes, and result in reductions for Art, Music, Physical Education, Counselors, Dean of Students, and a variety of other rigorous course offerings such as Gifted, AP (advanced placement) or CCP (college credit plus) courses. Extracurriculars such as music and athletic programs could also be impacted. Please note that the money received from the levy will not provide anything “extra.” The money received from the levy will only help NWLSD maintain what we currently offer.
Our partnership with our community is imperative. It is important that all of our stakeholders understand the rationale and the need for the levy. We have put together a frequently asked question sheet to address our community’s concerns.
2019 NWLSD LEVY INFORMATION
If the new levy passes, how much will each homeowner pay per month?
Based on a $100K home, homeowners would pay an additional $21.88 per month. A homeowner with a $250K home would pay an additional $54.69 per month.
How many Mills is the District actually asking for?
7.5 mills will generate $11 million for the Northwest Local School District.
How long will this levy last?
Typical suburban school levies last 3-5 years. Without additional funds from the State, the District will need new revenue in 2024.
How will the levy impact those on a fixed income? Are there any credits like the Homestead Act or rollbacks that would help these individuals? The State no longer provides tax credits on any new levy passed after 2013. However, homestead exemption based on age still applies. “The Ohio homestead exemption is a tax credit that allows elderly and disabled homeowners to reduce their home’s market value by $25,000 for property tax purposes.”
What will we receive if the levy passes?
Our students currently have access to a variety of rigorous course offerings such as gifted, advanced placement and college credit plus courses. They are also afforded the opportunity to have access to counselors, Dean of Students and nurses in their buildings. Passage of the levy will allow the District to continue offering these services and classes and would also allow students to have classes like Art, Music and Physical Education.
What will happen if the upcoming levy does not pass?
Not passing the upcoming levy would be catastrophic. If the Northwest Local School District levy does not pass, we will be facing a $8.5 million deficit and will be forced to have an even higher levy in March. According to the State funding formula, local property taxes should make up 60% of our District funding.
How will academics be affected if the levy does not pass?
If the November levy is not passed it will affect academic programs and potentially impact the following areas:
- Reduction or elimination of Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus offered on campus
- Increase all class sizes to 30 or more
- Remove gifted services grades K-8
- Reduction or elimination of special area courses and high school electives
- Remove the Dean of Students in all schools
- Remove counselors in elementary school
- 20 elementary teaching positions (includes teachers in gifted and special areas)
- 24 secondary teaching positions in the middle and high schools
- Reduce classified staff for grades K-12
- Reduce Librarians for grades K-12
- Reduce 9 Inclusion Assistants (these are staff members that support special education in classrooms)
- Resource Officers eliminated in middle schools
How will athletics and specialized programs be affected if the levy does not pass?
If the November levy is not passed it will affect how extracurricular programs will be funded and will potentially eliminate funding for the following areas:
- Middle school sports
- High school sports
- Elementary, middle and high school music programs
- Clubs and activities such as drama clubs, academic teams, etc.
Will all sports be eliminated on both sides of the district, including Colerain football?
All sports will be eliminated, no exceptions will be made.
What will happen to elementary Art, PE, Music in a levy fail scenario? In a levy fail scenario we would be moving toward a basic education which is only state requirements. Art, Music, PE are not required by the state for elementary. We would have to eliminate elective course offerings.
Would the Physical Education (PE) be eliminated at the middle school? State requirements allow us to reduce PE at the Middle School level, but not eliminate.
Outside of classes, what else will be affected if the levy does not pass?
- The nursing staff will be reduced. Each school will have one half-day nurse and a half-day health assistant.
- Our custodial services will be reduced. Classrooms will be cleaned 2-3 times a week, as opposed to everyday. Teachers will be responsible to empty their own trash on some days.
- Resource Officers would be removed from middle schools
When will cuts go into effect?
Will anything be cut immediately for this school year if the levy fails in November?
What caused the financial deficit?
Based on State funding laws, our District only receives 40% of basic education funding from the state. The other 60% is required to be raised by local taxes. Currently, our local taxes only account for 40%, leaving a gap in revenue based on the state funding formula for basic education.
Revenue from a levy is a fixed amount when passed and never increases. Expenditures however, increase by 3% every year based on inflation. Currently our District is underfunded by the State and local efforts for basic education. The operating cost of running the District has naturally risen over the last 20 years, but the funding raised from taxes has not.
The District has not raised taxes since 2012. In 2017, NWLSD passed a renewal of this emergency levy. This levy did not raise taxes. Renewal levies have a set dollar amount and that amount never changes. The amount of funds received in 2017, were based on the 2012 amount.
Will this levy remove the District’s financial deficit?
This levy will help the District maintain the cost of what the District currently offers. Unfortunately, this helps but does not solve the District’s long term financial forecast of continuing to try to offer opportunities and support to all of our students. There will continue to be an effort to close the funding gap created by the State formula which puts 60% of the burden on the taxpayer.
What you should know?
NWLSD is one of the lowest taxed Districts in Hamilton County. They are the 2nd largest school district in Hamilton County; however, they employ the smallest number of administrative office employees across the county.
My kids go to a parochial school or I don’t have a child in school, why is the levy important to me?
Passing the levy will affect parochial schools in a variety of ways. Strong schools directly relate to property values and community strength. Our district supports parochial schools in a variety of ways such as consulting on their use of federal funds and special education, maintaining compliance of special education paperwork for scholarships, hiring staff and processing payroll and purchase orders for their use of State funds. Providing transportation beyond the state minimum for parochials currently costs our District about $1.4 million a year. We also have many groups who use our facilities in the evenings for meetings and sports programs which require custodial coverage.
If the levy passes, will the District transport students within the one-mile distance?
The State requires busing of students beyond a two mile limit. The current Board policy goes beyond the state requirements and provides for transportation at a one mile limit. The proposed levy does not include additional funding for transportation within the one mile range.
Will there be any more changes to transportation?
If the levy fails in November we would implement the 2 mile state limit. State Law mandates that school districts cannot make changes during the school year once it starts. We would then make a recommendation to the BOE to implement a two mile policy for the 2020/2021 school year.
What is a MILL?
Local tax rates for property are computed in mills. A mill is one-tenth of a penny. Property is taxed on its assessed value or 35% of its market value.
How are levies adopted?
The community votes to approve them.
How can you help?
- Spread the word about the upcoming levy. “Mine plus 9” (find 9 other voters that you can discuss the upcoming levy with).
- Consider volunteering at an upcoming levy event.
- Contact Community Partners for Education to learn about raffle sells, door drops, etc.
Who should you contact to volunteer?
- Kerri Robers or Tim Gehner are the levy leaders.
Are individuals allowed to give money if you are a District employee, teacher or community member?
- Absolutely. Anyone can contribute by contacting Jim Detzel at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are some important dates that I should know?
- September 17 – Levy Kick off at Northgate Mall
- October 26 – Levy door drops
- November 4- Crowd the Corner
- November 5 – Vote
When will yard signs be available?
September 17 at the Rally form 6-8 at Northgate Mall.
2019 NWLSD LEVY INFORMATION
When is election day?
- November 5, 2019. Polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
What time do the polls open and close?
- Polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How do you register to vote?
- The deadline for voter registration for Nov. 5 general election is October 7, 2019.
- Voter registration cards are available at any of our school sites, the library and even the post office. You can visit the Secretary of State’s website (link below) to find out information on how to: change your voter registration, change your address, register to vote, absentee voting and other voting options https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/
- The last day to register to vote for the November 5, 2019 election is OCTOBER 7, 2019.
How do I know if I am registered to vote?
- You will receive voter information in the mail from the Board of Elections if you are newly registered.
- You can visit the Secretary of State’s website (link below) to find out information on how to: change your voter registration, find your polling location, change your address, register to vote, absentee voting and other voting options https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/
Where do I go to vote?
- You will receive polling location in the mail from the Board of Elections if you recently registered.
- You can visit the Secretary of State’s website (link below) to find out information on how to: change your voter registration, find your polling location, change your address, register to vote, absentee voting and other voting options. https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/
How does a school get revenue?
Schools get revenue from the following areas:
1) State: The State provides funding based on the number of students that are enrolled in the District. In 2004, the cost to provide an education was $5,058 per pupil. In 2019, that cost has increased to $6,020 per pupil.
2) Legislative Action: The State’s biennium budget can increase and decrease revenue based on a new formula.
3) Local Taxes: Local tax dollars are fixed once a levy is approved. Only in the first year after construction is there a revenue increase.
4) Federal Funds: Additional restricted funds that support not supplant district operations.
How is our spending affected?
- Inflation– The expenses that schools face continue to rise annually. These expenses include: supplies, fuel, utilities and contracted services. These increasing costs are greater than the money that we receive in funds.
- Special Education– More students are being identified and other social agencies are covering less of the needs leaving the school to incur cost. What are these costs? Occupational and physical therapy, tuition, special transportation and other related services.
3) Poverty– Children in poverty need and often require added services
Why did the District choose to build three new elementary buildings, if they were in debt?
Building school buildings and District operations are two separate things and two separate pots of money. The community met and decided that based on the condition of the existing buildings it was necessary to replace 5 of our elementary schools to keep our students warm, safe and dry. The Board put a levy on the ballot which the community voted to support. This bond levy funding was used to build the 3 new elementary schools and renovate others.
How do levies benefit the community?
Strong schools make strong communities
On May 2, 2017 and on November 3, 2015, I supported the levy. What happened to that money? How was it used?
The 2017 levy was a renewal to keep the 2012 emergency levy of $7.3 million. The District has been operating on these monies since the 2012 passage of the original levy.
In 2015, the community passed a bond/operating levy. Those funds were used to build the 3 new elementary schools and to add renovations to others. The 1 mill operating levy is used to maintain current operations.
Why is it necessary to have this levy?
Revenue is “fixed” when a levy is passed. Due to inflation, costs go up each year. This levy is necessary to maintain current operations.