As the election dominates the news, this is a good time to reflect on how Marysville School’s last ballot initiative has turned out. Often times you are inundated with facts and figures leading up to the ballot but later on, you might not know what your “yes” vote has done for the district and community. In November of 2018, the community approved our request to renew an existing operating levy and also approved our No New Millage Permanent Improvement Levy (neither were new money levies). With the approval of the operating levy, our taxpayers locked in the 10% rollback reimbursement that they receive from the state, in essence ensuring they maintain the 10% discount received on those taxes. From a district standpoint, this levy allowed us to maintain the staffing and programs that have helped make Marysville one of the top districts in Ohio. By approving the Permanent Improvement Levy, our taxpayers ensured that we would not have to ask for new money until likely 2022 by allowing TIF revenue to be shifted to the General Fund. With increases in Permanent Improvement Fund TIF revenue due to increases in valuation, as well as support from community donors, we were able to build the High School and Middle School stadiums enjoyed by our students and community (and where our Monarch football team locked up an OCC championship this year).
From a financial standpoint, the great part about all of this is that it was accomplished without raising your tax rates at all. In fact, your school tax rates have actually decreased by over 3 mills in the two years since those levies passed. So as promised, your “yes” vote helped keep your tax rates low while ensuring our students continue to receive a top notch education.
Looking forward, there are two risks to our financial stability that we are closely monitoring. The first is state funding. It’s not just a local secret that our property taxes are low, the state is well aware of this too. The potential problem with this is that a new state funding formula could determine that our community is relatively wealthy based on our strong property values, but at the same time, we are paying less in local property taxes than most districts. This could lead to the state not giving us increases in state funding depending on what the next funding formula looks like. We should have more information on potential formula changes in 2021. The second risk factor is growth. Some of our buildings are close to capacity and significant enrollment growth would lead to the need for additional space and staff. While our enrollment numbers have remained steady, you don’t have to look very far to see that Marysville is growing. How that growth happens has a big impact on school finance. Strictly from a school finance perspective, the best growth is a mix of single family homes and new commercial growth so that the property tax burden is shared. Growth that can be detrimental to school finance could be from multi-unit housing where the number of new students to the school far exceeds tax revenue generated.
Another factor we watch closely is tax abatement on new commercial growth. This can reduce the amount of property tax the business pays enticing them to build in our community, but at the same time, has a negative impact on the amount of tax revenue the school receives. Both of these factors can have an impact on your residential tax rates.
Marysville Schools offers excellent schools at a great value for our taxpayers. In fact, we have not passed a new money levy since 2008 resulting in Marysville Schools having one of the lowest millage rates in all of Central Ohio. We will continue to make decisions balancing the great education our students deserve with strong financial accountability. Our district and community is better because of your support.