The levy will generate an estimated $3.1 million in additional revenue annually for the school district. The district currently runs on a $33.2 million/year budget.
How much will it cost you if you are a Bay Village property owner?
For a $200,000 home, the increase is $413/year, and for a $250,000 home it is $516.25/year.
The median home value in Bay Village is $222,100, according to the real estate website Zillo.
Schools claim the 5.9 mill levy is to cover increasing costs for utilities, supplies, salaries, transportation, etc. The millage level also reflects the addition of increased instructional technology support and foreign language instruction starting at the elementary school level.
For some Bay Village property owners, the question comes down to affordability. Can property taxpayers continue to bear the cost of excellence?
For one resident, Phil VanDrasik, state funding procedures are unfair. Why not change the state procedure for funding schools and relieve the one-sided burden that is placed on homeowners? That is the thrust of his citizen group, People Against Property Abuse.
“I am not against schools or the teachers,” said VanDrasik last week. “But the way they are funded by the state needs to be changed. Over the life of a 15-year mortgage, it becomes a staggering number – $7,740 for a $250,000 home. And that number does not go away after the mortgage is paid. If you live in that house for 30 years, the number grows to over $15,000.”
“We were able to make our 2010 levy stretch to six years through conservative management practices,” said Superintendent Clint Keener. “Lead time built into any levy cycle requires we ask for an increase well before we get far into spending down our reserve fund. We are at that time now. If the levy doesn’t pass this year, we’d have to come back with a higher millage request next year to maintain the same program. If we took it even closer to the end of our reserve fund, we’d be looking at some serious reductions.”
Bay property owners who love the schools but hate the state funding mechanism are once again in a bind. Common sense tells you the system will never change until it has to. And that will mean painful levy failures to force that change.
VanDrasik would like to see schools and voters push for other avenues of funding for schools, avenues that would relieve the one-sided burden on property owners. “Pennsylvania taxpayers have two issues on the ballot right now for state income tax and state employment tax,” he said. These options would spread school funding more equitably.
What will the Nov. 8 Bay School District levy increase mean to you if you are a Bay Village homeowner?
Visit the Bay School levy calculator at www.bayvillageschools.com.