Will the levy really raise all district residents’ taxes by 25%?
No. Currently, Granville residents pay no earned income tax to the schools; those who own property pay a school property tax based on their property value. The levy would enact a 1.25% earned income tax for five years; after 2019 about 5% of school property taxes would then be reduced. For most residents, the net effect of these changes will be an increase in school taxes; increased revenue is needed to fund critical school programs. But each resident’s percentage increase in school taxes paid will vary. Those at the lower end of the earning spectrum, and those on fixed incomes, will see little change, or actually see their net school taxes decline after property taxes are reduced. Those at the top of the earning spectrum will see larger increases on a percentage basis relative to their school property tax contribution. But the 1.25% rate will affect all wage earners equally. While a hypothetical high-wealth taxpayer with a perfect ratio of earned income to property value could in fact see an increase in overall school taxes of exactly 25%, there is no “typical” Granville taxpayer, thus it is not possible to provide a simple snapshot of what all taxpayers will experience.
For help calculating how much tax you will pay, contact District Treasurer, Mike Sobul.
What would the levy provide for?
Passing the levy would provide the Granville school district with the flexibility to meet the operational and capital needs of the district including:
•The operating budget, which pays for staffing, student instruction, and general operations.
•Capital maintenance needs (planned and unexpected) related to aging buildings, facility improvements and infrastructure, and safety and accessibility needs.
The levy is not earmarked for any specific facility upgrade, new construction, or specific program or project. Rather, it provides flexible funds our district’s administrators will use to maintain the schools’ high academic performance, student services and activities, arts and cultural programming, extracurricular offerings, and other needs.
Is the real purpose of the levy to refurbish the Granville High School stadium?
No. Levy funds will be used primarily for teacher salaries and benefits, current operating costs, and ongoing capital needs. Some revenue could be directed at capital projects, possibly including stadium needs that focus on usability, accessibility, or safety. Any significant new capital spending related to future stadium refurbishment would require approval by the school board and be open to public comment, just as with any other major renovation to school facilities. The board has also publicly stated its intention to pursue public-private partnerships and consider other revenue streams to help offset upgrade costs, should this type of renovation be undertaken, citing the recent Wildwood Park playground renovation as a prime example of the Granville community -- residents, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and the public sector -- coming together to pool resources and improve a recreational/athletic facility enjoyed by many.
Why did the board choose 1.25% rather than another earned income tax rate?
The board considered options that would come the closest to meeting the district’s needs without overburdening taxpayers. Ohio law requires earned income tax levies to be in 0.25% increments, and the board weighed both 1.00% and 1.25% options during a year of careful study. Analysis showed that the 1.00% option would most likely only provide the district with the funds to operate current programs, with no margin for error if any unforeseen expenses arose, or if new state mandates were introduced. The 1.25% option would most likely provide the solid financial footing necessary to both keep existing programs going and absorb future emergencies, state requirements, and unforeseen challenges without compromising educational quality or require future cuts if new expenses arose. It would also protect the reasonable class sizes currently in place in the district by making future staffing possible as student enrollment rises. All district spending will continue to be completely transparent, with expenditures featured on Ohio’s Online Checkbook through the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, and future board meetings open to the public for comment and scrutiny.
Why is the district asking for more funding now when it has operating funding available through the end of 2019?
Revenue generated from an earned income tax will arrive in Granville much more slowly than revenue generated from property taxes. The new levy’s five-year 1.25% earned income tax will take effect on January 1, 2019, but the schools will only actually receive a small fraction of its eventual income -- just 6% -- during the entire first year. During the second year in 2020, the district will receive about 85%. It’s only in the third year that the district will finally begin collecting the full 100% of expected revenue. In order to cover the lag time between the levy’s implementation and the time it is fully phased in, the district must pass it now while a cash balance exists. After 2018, it will be too late for this type of funding mechanism to be successful.
How do Granville teacher salaries compare with neighboring districts?
Granville works hard to attract the very best and brightest teachers in the area, and tries to retain experienced teachers whenever possible. Granville’s salaries are the highest in Licking County, but on average, Granville teachers are paid 10 to 15% below comparable Franklin County salaries. For this reason, the district typically loses one to two teachers each year to Franklin County.
Teacher salaries have been in the news lately, as Ohio’s are below the national average. Read more here: https://www.10tv.com/article/ohio-teacher-salaries-subject-national-survey
Why an Earned Income Tax?
The Board of Education spent a full year considering the best option for future school funding, speaking with experts and reviewing alternatives. An earned income tax approach was chosen because:
•Taxes are only paid on earned income (reported on a W2) and small business income above $250,000 (schedules C and F of IRS 1040). An earned income tax places the responsibility for school support more directly on the consumers of school services. Taxes would not apply to Social Security, pensions, interest, dividends, pass-through income, and capital gains.
•An earned income tax brings diversity to the tax base, creating a source of revenue growth to address future needs without adversely impacting general operations or routine capital needs.
•Granville currently lacks sufficient business property to share the tax load with residents.
will the district seek a future property tax levy if an earned income tax levy is not passed?
Based on a variety of factors including past election results, the current makeup of the Granville community and tax base, and the district’s anticipated future spending needs, the Board concluded that an earned income levy is the most logical, appropriate, and responsible method for funding the district at this time.
if the levy fails, what cuts will be implemented?
Like most school districts, the majority of the district's spending -- about 80 percent-- is used for personnel expenses. Therefore, due to the spring timing of the levy vote, failure to pass the measure will guarantee larger K-12 class sizes and increased student/teacher ratios for the 2018-2019 school year. State law also requires the district to provide certain services and programs, while others, even if extremely popular or educationally valuable to Granville students, are nonetheless considered optional by the state and thus eligible for elimination if cuts are required.
Why does the levy include additional funds for emergency spending?
Levy funds from the 1.25% earned income tax will be primarily used to pay for personnel expenses, which are spelled out via contract negotiations with a union as in all Ohio school systems. Additional expenses include classroom supplies, technology upgrades, equipment and facility maintenance, and funding needed to address state mandates. The levy does include additional funding for emergencies or unforeseen facility needs, which occur regularly in the district’s aging buildings (see below). Recent examples include having to unexpectedly replace the Intermediate School roof (costing around $500,000), and having to replace the entire Middle School sprinkler system. When these unplanned for events occur and claim huge amounts of the maintenance budget, it means other, smaller routine maintenance costs must be deferred, which eventually leads to higher costs for everyone in the long-term. Unplanned for security upgrades are also now being discussed, as are high school stadium upgrades to make the facility ADA accessible and safe for attendees (although the board has publicly stated that artificial turf will not be added to the stadium using levy funds; these types of upgrades could result only from a public/private partnership). Because the levy has a five-year term, changes can be made by the board in the future if the level is wrong, with the community’s future approval.
HOW DOES THE DISTRICT PRACTICE GOOD FINANCIAL STEWARDSHIP?
Our district carefully manages the tax dollars entrusted to them. For details, visit Our Schools.
Are only residents in certain areas affected by the income tax?
All residents within the Granville Exempted Village School District will be equally affected.
Is it true that seniors will no longer pay anything to support the school system?
No. Although this earned income levy will not affect Social Security or pensions, seniors will continue to contribute to the school system via remaining property taxes (after benefiting from the same 5% reduction in school property taxes after 2019 that will affect all property owners).
Why are Granville schools’ maintenance and facility costs so expensive?
This has mostly to do with the age of its school buildings, which average nearly 40 years old. Although several have had renovations within the last 20 years, the ongoing maintenance costs to keep them safe, secure, and updated for student learning are significant, just as with any aging building.
• Granville Elementary School: 67 years old (built in 1951, addition 1998, renovation 2003)
• Granville Intermediate School: 16 years old (built in 2002)
• Granville Middle School: 48 years old (built in 1970, renovations 1993, 2003)
• Granville High School: 26 years old (built in 1992, renovations 2003)
WHAT CHANGES CAN I EXPECT WITH MY TAXES?
If passed by voters, a five-year, 1.25% earned income tax will take effect in 2019. However, all current capital levies would expire at the end of 2019 reducing school property taxes by about 5% in 2020.
how can i determine exactly how much tax i will pay?
The below chart is an excellent resource for determining how much you would contribute under a 1.25% earned income tax. You can also calculate the impact of the levy on your earned income by first totaling that income for the year (line 7 plus any amounts in line 12 or 18 above $250,000.) and multiplying this figure by 0.0125. But remember, if you are a property owner, you will also pay less to the school district in property taxes after 2019 as well, offsetting a portion of this total. Depending on the value of your home, and depending on whether or not you have a Homestead Exemption, this new savings could balance out a substantial amount of your earned income tax.
For help calculating how much tax you will pay, contact District Treasurer, Mike Sobul.
HOW EXACTLY DOES A SCHOOL INCOME TAX WORK?
The Ohio Department of Taxation publishes a Question and Answer Guide on School District Income Taxes. We have taken the ODT guide and extracted the portions that are most relevant to the proposed Earned Income Tax in Granville. You can link to the abridged Q&A here.To view the full ODT guide, click or tap here. If you have any questions related to either of the documents, do not hesitate to contact district Treasurer Mike Sobul at 740-587-8116.
Does my vote matter?
Your vote of "YES" is critical to ensuring our schools maintain the quality of excellence that our children and our community expect. Many people choose Granville because of the quality of the schools. Strong schools are a sign of a strong community. When levies fail, school performance drops, property values decline and communities suffer.
Have more questions? Email us at GranvilleLevy2018@gmail.com