At the January meeting of the Hopewell-Loudon Board of Education, the board passed the final resolution necessary to go on the May 4 ballot seeking funds to build a new K-12 school facility with the assistance of $13.5 million in state funding made available through the state's tobacco settlement money.
The board again is asking for local funds to be generated through a combination of property tax and earned income tax. We anticipate the property tax portion of the request to decrease slightly from what was on the ballot in November due to higher overall valuation in the district. The income tax portion is, once again, being asked only on earned income.
This funding structure has been widely supported through a series of community meetings in the spring of 2009 and confirmed again in our most recent phone survey. This combination property and earned income tax distributes the responsibility fairly.
In this structure, working families are more likely to have students in school and would have a larger responsibility; and the income tax is only on earned income - not Social Security, not retirement income, not unemployment, not dividends, not cash rental income from farms, etc.
The board has not taken this decision lightly. We do everything we can to keep our expenses down, making the best use of taxpayer money. In fact, based on recent data, Hopewell-Loudon School had the 11th lowest expenses per pupil in the state of Ohio. Out of more than 600 districts in the state, we have provided a quality education costing far less than 95 percent of the other districts.
There is great pride in our building and what it has represented to so many H-L alumni. Without that high level of pride and ongoing maintenance over the past 70 years, this building would not look as good as it does now. It's important to know, though, that even with the appearance of the exterior of the building, the "systems" such as heating, plumbing and roofing are showing the effects of age. Maintenance costs continue to eat away at a large share of our budget, and that share continues to grow as the building ages.
District residents are being provided an opportunity to share the costs of a new building with the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The OSFC has offered our district $13.5 million from its "tobacco settlement" dollars that was provided to all states. The choice really comes down to this:
In the near future, we will be arranging tours of the school facilities. Please consider taking part in a tour so you can get a full picture of the real building condition today. There is so much more to see than what most people are able to on a regular basis. These tours will be advertised in the newspaper as well as on the school Web site (www.hlschool.org).