What will this levy fund?
Passage of this renewal keeps current programming in place. Without this renewal the district will lose nearly $5 Million per year and will need to make cuts to avoid a state takeover.
How much does it cost to run the district?
W-E Schools current operating expenses are roughly $8M per month, or nearly $100M per year. Monthly Financial statements can be found on the Treasurer’s page of the District’s website.
Isn’t the District always asking for more money?
House Bill 920 was passed in 1976 to protect homeowners from inflation. That froze school funding. Ohio schools must ask for additional money from taxpayers to keep up with rising costs. However, W-E Schools are NOT asking for new money. Issue 3 is a RENEWAL and passing it will NOT increase taxes for a property owner.
What about the new school buildings in our District?
Levies are for learning. Building construction costs are paid for by bonds. Willoughby-Eastlake passed a bond issue in 2015 that paid for the North, South, and Longfellow buildings. No money from bond issues can legally be used for district operations.
Why does 70% of my tax bill go to schools?
Schools are heavily reliant on property taxes. Unlike City income tax, even though your property value and property taxes go up, the funding received by the District does not change. The amount a District can collect on an Emergency Levy is frozen at the amount that voters originally passed. Even with new homes, total funding does not increase. In the event of new construction, taxes are decreased for other homeowners.
Why do Ohio Schools go on the ballot?
In Ohio, the majority of school funding comes from local tax revenue. With limited options from State and Federal resources, roughly 70% of W-E School funding is generated from residential property taxes. When costs increase, school districts go on the ballot to ask property owners for help with those costs. This method of funding schools has been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. To date, it has not been resolved by our state legislature.
Why are W-E Schools on the ballot so often?
Ohio schools can put permanent or time-limited levies on the ballot to collect property taxes. Willoughby-Eastlake is in the small minority of school districts in Ohio that rely on emergency, or temporary, levies to operate. W-E schools appear on the ballot when they need new money AND when they need to renew current funding. The district is not seeking additional funds during this election. Voting YES on Issue 3 renews an emergency operating levy. Emergency levies have a limit of 10 years unless renewed. If Issue 3 does not pass, funds will stop in December 2022.
Why don’t W-E Schools have a permanent funding model?
In Ohio, schools can issue a property tax or an income tax. Property taxes can be issued continuously or for a period of time, up to 10 years. Historically, W-E homeowners have rejected continuous operating levies. Most recently, a permanent levy was defeated in the November 2019 election. This leaves W-E Schools in the minority of school districts in Ohio that primarily rely on temporary funding to operate.
Why can’t the District fund by other means? (Sales or Income Tax?)
Only counties can issue a sales tax. Schools can either place a property tax or income tax on the ballot. Income tax is more supported in rural communities due to the large amounts of land that farmers, for example, would own. They would rather pay on their income vs their land. In Willoughby-Eastlake however, 100% of your income tax goes to your city of residence. This is their primary source of funding. As your salary goes up, so does the amount they collect.
Why do emergency levies cost taxpayers more money?
Relying on emergency levies to fund our schools is expensive. Each time a question goes on the ballot, it costs money. Since 1987, our district has paid over $300,000 in fees to the Board of Elections. This does not include the costs associated with running a political campaign. School districts that rely on emergency levies become bigger credit risks and pay more interest on borrowed money. Bonds, for example, are impacted by a school’s credit rating.
Per Ohio law, no District funds can be used for the Levy campaign. All funds come from private and corporate donations.
ISSUE 3 SCHOOL IMPACTS
What is at stake?
If Issue 3 does not pass, the W-E School District must rebalance their budget to comply with state regulations. Cuts were approved after the renewal issue failed in May.
Why did the district already publish a list of cuts?
The State of Ohio requires school districts to file a 5-year financial forecast twice annually (most recent filing in May 2022). The next filing deadline is November 30th. If Issue 3 is not renewed, the district must immediately update their forecast to reflect the loss of funds to avoid a state takeover. If Issue 3 passes, the cuts will not go into effect.
When will these cuts go into effect?
If the renewal issue fails, the district will stop receiving funds in January. Most of the operational and staffing changes will go into effect in the 2023-24 calendar year to avoid disruption to student schedules. However, field trips and athletics will likely be eliminated immediately.
Can teams or clubs fundraise to play sports and go on trips?
The law requires that students be treated equally. If Issue 3 does not pass, all field trips, middle school athletics, and 9th grade athletics will be eliminated across the district without exception.
What does it mean to consider redistricting?
There is no immediate plan to redistrict W-E schools. In the event of an Issue 3 failure, the School of Innovation will close. SOI is housed in one of the district’s newer buildings while other buildings need significant maintenance and repair. The board would review student populations and building conditions should they pursue a redistricting plan.
What will happen to W-E teachers and staff?
If Issue 3 does not pass, several teacher and professional staff jobs will be eliminated.
ISSUE 3 COMMUNITY IMPACT
THE CHILDREN OF WILLOUGHBY-EASTLAKE NEED YOUR HELP.
THESE ITEMS WILL BE CUT IF ISSUE 3 DOES NOT PASS:
VOTING YES ON ISSUE 3: