The League of Women Voters of the Tiffin Area urges your support of the Tiffin City Schools levy Nov. 8. The 4.9-mill continuing operating levy would help the district meet its mission of providing a quality education for the youth of our community.
The LWV believes public school districts should provide quality education in order to prepare all students for life in our world. The league strongly supports program, services and facilities that are above state minimum standards; are based on planning and prioritizing; and utilize multiple sources of funding to provide adequate support.
Tiffin City School District always has operated a very tight budget with very little excess revenue. The cost per pupil is one of the lowest of all schools in the Northern Ohio League and more than $2,000 less per pupil than the state average. In fact, only 16 percent of the school districts in Ohio have a lower cost per pupil than Tiffin City.
House Bill 920, passed in 1976, generally offsets any growth in taxes charged by a levy from one year to the next. This simply means as property values increase, the millage rate is decreased, so the amount collected is the same as when a school levy was passed. Renewal levies were approved in 2007 and 2009, but the last new money approved for Tiffin City Schools was in 2004. Seven years is a long time for a district to survive without new money.
House Bill 66 tax reductions enacted in 2005 significantly changed the tax structure in Ohio and negatively affected the amount of money available to school districts. During the phase out of the tangible personal property tax, Tiffin City School collections decreased from $1.7 million in 2006 to $19,320 in 2011.
Ohio faced an $8 billion deficit when it developed its new two-year budget in July. Consequently, with roughly 45 percent of Tiffin City School revenue coming from Columbus, the district is to lose more than $2 million in funding from the state over the next two-year budget cycle.
Mary Haynes is president of The League of Women Voters of the Tiffin Area.
During the 2009-10 school year, expenses exceeded revenue, causing the carry-over balance to decrease. This required the district to reduce expenses in an effort to balance the budget. From 2007 through 2010, the district reduced the equivalent of 13 full-time positions, saving the district approximately $750,000. The board also has approved cuts of $1.1 million in expenses effective with the 2012-13 school year.
This second round of cuts is to occur regardless of the outcome of the levy. As part of these cuts and at a savings of more than $800,000 of the $1.1 million, Clinton and Lincoln elementary schools are to be closed and elementary class size is to increase from an average of 23 students per class to an average of 30 students per class.
The League of Women Voters of the Tiffin Area urges your support of this 4.9-mill levy for Tiffin City School District. The district has demonstrated fiscal responsibility year after year. Additional reductions would cut into the heart of this school district, reducing options and opportunities that individualize instruction for students. Additional revenue is critical to maintaining our strong school system. Strong schools help kids get good jobs, keep property values high, and attract business. Vote "yes!"