2018 Levy FAQ

Home  »  2018 Levy FAQ
  • Why does Woodridge Receive Such Little State Funding?

    The best place to research how schools are funded is the Ohio Department of Education website. It is www.ode.state.oh.us. From there you can search School Finance Payment Report. This will give you the details of how Woodridge is funded. I have been here just a few months, but that is the biggest question that I get asked, “Why does Woodridge get so little funding?”

    I totally agree that how Woodridge is funded by the Ohio Department of Education is confusing. There are a number of factors as to why Woodridge gets so little money from ODE (property valuation of the district, adjusted gross income of the district, amount of miles within the district for bussing purposes, number of and type of special needs children, etc.) There are over 50 formulas in a school’s funding foundation worksheet. The bottom line comes down to Woodridge has a high property valuation in the entire district compared to the number of students that we have. They consider us to be a “wealthy” district.

    Even though schools were supposed to be funded at a minimum of $6,000 per child last year, they were not. The State says they do not have enough money to fund schools at what the law says they are supposed to be funded at. They then develop what is called the State Share. This means that they fund schools at whatever they determine our state share is, based upon the formulas. The formula determined that Woodridge had a state share of 18.8%.

    ODE also institutes what is called a CAP. Every school district in the state of Ohio has a CAP threshold. The way that ODE calculates their formula, Woodridge is CAPPED at 26% of what our state share formula comes out to. Therefore, Woodridge received 26% of the 18.8% of what the law says we are supposed to have received.

    I am attaching a sheet that the Fair Funding Districts Committee put together a few years ago. It shows which schools received the lowest amount per pupil in the State of Ohio in fiscal year 2016. You will see that only 9 schools in the State of Ohio received less than Woodridge has. It also shows that 27 school districts in this state received less money per child than non-public schools received. Walsh, St. Vincent-St. Mary, IHM, etc. all received more money than Woodridge or these other schools. There is nothing wrong with children attending these schools. We just think it is unfair to not receive equitable funding.

    Our Superintendent, Walter Davis, is very instrumental in this group. This group was able to persuade legislation to put in the previous budget bill that no public school would receive less than any private school. I am told that the Governor, himself, vetoed this item out of the budget.

    Woodridge has tried to rectify other means of unfairness. Woodridge received $743 last year per child. However, if one our kids decided to attend a public Charter School, ODE would deduct over $7,700 on average per child and send it directly to that community school. Due to this inequity, a few years ago, Woodridge sent an invoice to the Ohio Department of Education for all of the money deducted from Woodridge that went to Charter Schools. Again, this is a parent choice as to where to send their child and we do not deny that. However, it is not fair to deduct more money than we receive for this. This invoice made National news and was then duplicated by other school districts. Woodridge eventually sent them a past due invoice as well. Obviously, ODE has never even recognized our invoices.

    You asked if Woodridge receives other funds that other districts may not. We do receive some money in-lieu-of taxes that the cities of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls have set up tax abatements with to generate jobs and industry within the district. However, this is not something unique to Woodridge as many schools have these in place. A non-profit organization owns the land that Blossom Music Center sits on and therefore does not pay taxes. They do however send us $25,000 annually and let us use Blossom for free on graduation night. This is not something that they have to do, but do it anyway. Each school district may have other business options for additional funds, but it pales in comparison to what we do not receive from the Ohio Department of Education.

    Again, I thank you for your inquiry

    Tom Morehouse
    Treasurer
    Woodridge Local Schools

  • How much will the levy generate?
    The 8.71 mill emergency operating levy will generate $4 million per year for the district.
  • How much will this levy cost taxpayers?

    The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $286.66 per year; however, the bond issue for Woodridge Middle School will be coming off residents’ tax bills in 2018. That will reduce taxes by approximately $68 per year per $100,000 home.

  • Why 8.19 mills?

    The Board of Education discussed the recommended millage rate based on the district’s five-year forecast to ensure the levy balances the budget.

  • How effectively is the district managing taxpayer dollars?

    The school district has received the Auditor of State award from the State Auditor’s Office for the past 16 years for its excellent financial practices. Even with the operating levy, Woodridge will continue to keep a watchful eye on spending and tightly manage tax payer dollars. The district has now stretched two separate 5 year operating levies, to 8 years each. That is 16 years worth of funding from 10 years worth of tax payer dollars.

  • Woodridge passed a bond issue in 2015. Will funds from the operating levy be used for construction costs?

    NO. Dollars from the bond issue cannot be used for operating expenses. Regardless of the bond issue, Woodridge would have been back on the ballot for operating dollars, especially with the funding cuts from the state.

  • Did the new building increase our expenses, resulting in this levy request?

    NO. The new building allowed the district to become more efficient. Again, the funds from the bond issue passed in 2015 can only be used for construction costs. They cannot be used for operating expenses. When the community approved the new operating levy in 2012 it allowed for 5 years worth of funding. Your elected officials and school administration have, once again, stretched your tax dollars 8 years. it was known, and the community was informed, back in 2012 that new money would be needed within 5 to 7 years; before any plans to request funds from a bond campaign. The mathematics still remain true.

  • What is an operating levy?

    An operating levy is a levy for learning. Operating levies provide school districts money to be used for day-today expenses such as staff salaries, supplies, heating expenses, transportation, activities and programs. These are the funds that it takes to run and operate schools.

  • Who do I contact with questions regarding the operating levy?

    A community committee has been formed to work on the issues related to the campaign. For questions, please contact Chairman Scott Karlo at 330.945.9486.

     

  • What happens if the levy passes?

    If the levy passes, Woodridge will be able to maintain most of its programs and services provided to students; however, the district will still make $1.2 million in budget and service reductions. These will include personnel, purchased services and more due to the levy failure in November 2017 and May 2018.

     

  • What happens if the levy fails?

    It would be devastating to the Woodridge Local Schools. If the operating levy does not pass in 2018, the district will miss its last opportunity to collect new revenue before running a deficit. State laws require that public school districts balance their budgets. Thus should our community fail to pass the levy in November, they will force our elected School Board to make significant cuts, borrow money from the State, or a combination of both.  By 2020 Woodridge will have a deficit of $2.7 million which grows to $7.9 million (2021), and $14.8 million (2022).

    Even if the district chose to cut ALL programming that is not required by the State of Ohio Board of Education ($3.5 million), a deficit would remain in 2021.  These are numbers that cannot be resolved through cuts as the State does not provide enough funds to meet their own basic requirements.

    Without a balanced budget the Ohio Department of Education would place the district into fiscal emergency. The Woodridge Community would lose local control over its school.  Our community would begin to see significant losses in property values, challenges in selling homes, and a negative impact on our local businesses.

     

  • What has the district done to save money?

    The district participates in several cooperative purchasing programs designed to save money by working collaboratively with other districts to purchase supplies and materials. We are members of The Ohio Schools Council, which maximizes purchasing power as districts pool resources. Our long-time affiliation with The Six District Educational Compact allows our students to cross district lines to access curriculum and programming not available in our district. These shared services result in significant cost savings while maintaining numerous opportunities for our students.

  • Where can I find voting information, including timelines, registration information, absentee ballot information, etc.?

    We have assembled key details here. As always, the most current information for Summit County Voters can be found at www.summitcountyboe.com. You can also call 330.643.5200 or stop by the Board of Elections office at 470 Grant St., Akron, OH 44311.