School Finance 101
How are our schools funded?
School funding is comprised of two
primary sources in Ohio: Local school district property tax collections and
State of Ohio Foundation Funding payments.
Local funding is primary from property tax levies voted and approved by the District’s taxpayers. When a district needs additional operating funds, it puts an operating levy on the ballot for voters to approve.
When levies are approved, the amount of money stays about the same for the life of the levy. The District has two types of operating levies: “Continuing levies” which do not expire and “Emergency levies” which collect a fixed amount of tax revenue over a set period of time, usually five to 10 years.
Continuing operating levies collect about the same amount of tax revenues annually for the life of the levy, except for increases due to new construction. This is because of House Bill (HB) 920, a law passed in 1976. So in periods of inflation, HB 920 effectively freezes the amount of taxes collected in the first year the millage went into effect. The law requires the County auditor to adjust the voted millage annually, so as property values increase, the voted millage decreases to ensure no additional tax revenue is collected on outside millage. This is called the “effective millage.” Inside millage is not affected by HB 920, so a small amount of additional revenue is generated by property valuation increases. West Geauga has 51.46 mils in voted millage and an effective millage of 30.21 mils in operating levies.
The District also has two Emergency
operating levies: one for $2.35 million for five years and another for $3.7
million for a period of 10 years. Each
levy collects the same amount every year no matter what the property valuation
increase or decrease. Each emergency operating
levy must be renewed prior to its expiration in order to stay in effect.
Property Tax Credits
“Current state law (Revised Code Section 319.302) requires each county auditor to reduce all qualifying levies against real property taxes charged by a 10 percent Non-Business Credit. In addition, Section 323.152(B) requires the county auditor to further reduce the same qualifying levies against real property taxes on by a 2.5 percent Owner Occupancy credit. Owner-occupants who are age 65 or older or who are permanently and totally disabled may qualify for an additional reduction in their real property taxes by applying for a homestead exemption under Section 323.152(A).” (https://www.tax.ohio.gov/government/rollback_overview.aspx)
The second type of funding comes from
the State of Ohio. The State determines
the level of funding each school district receives through its biennium
budget. The current foundation formula model is
comprised of a multi-tiered model designed to determine the minimum amount
necessary to fund a fair and appropriate education.
Under the current model, the base component is referred to as the “Opportunity Grant” amounting to $6,020 for the FY 2019 school year. West Geauga does not receive the full amount of this funding per student since it is considered a high wealth district. The State of Ohio determines what percentage to fund a district based upon its State Share Index (SSI), which is determined using its property valuations, median income and student count. West Geauga’s SSI for fiscal year 2019 is five (5) percent. Additional amounts are added for targeted assistance in areas such as K-3 Literacy, Economic Disadvantaged Funding, Special Education and Gifted Funding, Transportation and the Transitional Aid Guarantee “Guarantee”.
A school on the Guarantee is ensured it will not receive less funding that it received the previous year. West Geauga is on the Guarantee and receives state funding of $1,897 per student for a total of approximately $3.4 million in fiscal year 2019. Please see the Ohio Department of Education’s website for specific district foundation funding reports.