Last week, the preliminary budget recommendation of the Governor’s State Funding Report was provided to the Bellbrook school board. The report contained a spreadsheet showing the districts and how the funding will affect each district. It didn’t look good for Bellbrook. According to this initial report, Bellbrook would lose all funding.
“We are one of three districts out of 7 districts in the county that will be cut. It’s very intriguing because we couldn’t figure out how they made a decision,” Bellbrook school board member, Kevin Liming said.
Basically, if a community has a high value school district or a low value district, your district has the possibility of being cut from funding. The Governor is basing his decision on what the district’s “tax effort” entails. The meaning of “tax effort,” according to the Governor’s report, is the difference between the resident’s tax contributions to the community compared to the district’s average income. So, the Governor thinking is that if a district collects high level city, school or property taxes then that district has a higher participation in taxation compared to another district.
“Naturally, if you have a higher average income community, now they are saying you have to have more taxation to have the same level of participation as a lower income district does,” said Liming.
The other factor is the property value per student. If a district has a declined enrollment and fewer students then the district’s revenue per students will go up, because the number of students fell. If the community has a high percentage of agriculture in the district, property values will change and revenue per student will increase. An increased property value per student decreases the state funding, although it doesn’t mean that the district won’t get federal money. So, a district that has higher tax participation with city, school and property taxes will get more funding. Basically, it is pressuring the districts that don’t have high tax participation to revisit the need of the community to implement school and city taxes.
“So, they are saying that they are going to send us less money because our tax effort is low,” Dr. Keith St. Pierre said. “So, since our community has a higher than average income average, we get penalized. Now, they expect us to get the lost funds from taxes.”
Bellbrook does not currently have a school or city tax. The property taxes in Bellbrook are the third highest in Greene County. Beavercreek and Yellow Springs has the highest tax rates in the area.
For more information, contact the Ohio House of Representatives at (800) 282-0253.