There will be a public forum to discuss the Avon Local School District’s 5.9-mill, 10-year operating levy at 7 p.m. April 22 at the middle school. Present will be two Avon Local School District board members, a member of the Finance Committee of the CIP Committee, a levy committee member, myself and the treasurer to present information about Issue 3 and answer questions.

Why does the district need to ask for more operating money, when the community is growing?

1. Projected deficit – Without additional money, the district is projecting a deficit budget of $5.5 million for FY 2012; $12 million for FY 2013; and $20 million for FY 2014.

2. Student enrollment – Since 2006, the district has enrolled more than 800 new students. Simply put, more resources (additional staffing, supplies, transportation, etc.) are needed. The cost to educate those additional 800 students over the past four years has been more than $6 million. And, with student increases projected well into the future, additional monies will be needed.

3. The city of Avon and its residents are considered wealthy by the state funding formula. As a result, the school district continues to lose state money each year. For this school year, (2009-10) the state has reduced our funding 1 percent and it is reducing it another 2 percent for the 2010-11 school year.

4. House Bill 920, enacted in 1976, freezes property revenues at the dollar amount voters approve. Even though more houses are built and more businesses relocate to a community, H.B. 920 prohibits school districts from collecting additional money on previously approved emergency levies. In other words, even though the total value of the community increases, the school district does not benefit and the revenue on previously approved emergency levies to its schools stays the same.

5. Unfunded mandates – With the passage of House Bill 1, the district is mandated to spend additional monies without additional funds from the state. The state is continuing to shift the burden to the local communities to fund the education of its children.

6. Inflation – Costs to operate (utilities, supplies, transportation, etc.) continue to escalate.

Will taxes be increased?

Yes, taxes will be increased.

What is a 10-year emergency operating levy?

It is a levy that lasts 10 years from which the proceeds fund the day-to-day operation of the district – supplies, utilities, textbooks, equipment, salaries, insurance, transportation, etc.

How much money will Issue 3 raise for the district?

The district will receive $4,450,975 each year, for 10 years, if the levy passes.

How much will Issue 3 cost a homeowner?

An owner of a home valued at $100,000 will pay $180.71 annually in additional taxes. Senior citizens who qualify for the Homestead Exemption pay less.

How does the Avon Local School District compare to the other four “excellent” districts surrounding it in spending per pupil and in comparison to the state?

In comparison to the surrounding four school districts rated excellent, the Avon Local Schools spent the least per pupil for the 2008-09 school year: Avon, $8,001; Avon Lake, $10,334; Bay Village, $10,868; Rocky River, $11,928; and Westlake, $12,538.

– Avon Superintendent Jim Reitenbach writes a bi-monthly column for the Press.

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