Myths vs Facts Regarding the Ballot Issue
It is Olentangy For Kids' job to present facts to our followers and friends. We have collected some of the most-heard "myths" and have countered them with factual information. We hope you find this fun and informative!
Myth: I just want to vote on the high school.
FACT: This issue contains 3 components, of which all are equally important. The no-additional-millage bond issue will be used to pay for the fourth high school. The 5.9 mill operating levy will be used to pay for day-to-day operations throughout the district, grades PreK-12. Without the operating dollars, the high school is unable to open its doors. The 1 mill permanent improvement levy will be used for upkeep of all of our current facilities and provide upgrades for technology. All three parts are equally important which is why they are packaged as one issue.
Myth: I have a kindergarten student. This issue will not impact us.
FACT: This issue is not just about overcrowding at the high school. This issue also contains operating dollars that fund our day-to-day operations in grades PreK-12. Without the operating dollars our current academic programming is in jeopardy. The permanent improvement portion of this issue provides funding to improve technology throughout the district and to maintain our current buildings. Plus, money generated from the bond portion of this issue will be used to buy additional buses for our growing student population.
Myth: I’m voting no because I want everyone on my student’s sports team to stay together so that they will win.
FACT: The school board and administration do not make decisions to build new schools based on if an athletic team will do well or not. Decisions are made based on what is best academically. This year, Liberty High School students are having their academics impacted because their school is too crowded and this will happen at Orange and Olentangy in the next two years if a new school is not built. Before a student excels on the field, they must excel off the field. Our district’s sports teams have had success in new schools and old. An additional high school brings additional opportunities for both academics and athletics.
Myth: The district is getting a lot of additional tax dollars from all of these new homes. The district will get more money when our homes are reappraised at higher values.
FACT: : Ohio House Bill 920 significantly restricts how much additional revenue is gained when housing values increase due to the county auditor’s reappraisal. House Bill 920 essentially locks in the amount of money a school district can raise from an operating levy, and that amount is based on the value of the appraised property in the year the issue takes effect. Regarding additional tax dollars from new construction, revenue from new home construction does not keep pace with the cost to educate the additional students that come from that growth.
Myth: The school district should charge builders a fee to build in our district that would go toward the building of new schools.
FACT: School districts and townships cannot impose builder or “impact” fees as it is against the law. However, the property to build Oak Creek, Olentangy Meadows, Johnnycake Corners, Tyler Run, Liberty Tree, Glen Oak Elementary schools and Hyatts Middle School were all built on land donated by builders.
Myth: Failing this issue will send a message to the Statehouse and they will give us more money.
FACT: School funding comes out of the state’s biennial budget. The state budget that impacts this school year and next fall into that budget. Failing the issue will not send them a message. Instead the School Board, district administrators and the School Advocacy Committee will continue to advocate on behalf of the district, with the help of our residents, so that when the next budget is being debated in 2017, our message is front and center. It’s also important to note that the state considers the Olentangy community to be wealthy, based on median income and property values. Therefore, a levy loss will not cause them to conclude that our schools need additional funding.
Myth: I don't want my senior to go to a new school.
FACT: With the opening of Liberty and Orange High Schools, seniors got to stay at their existing high school. The new schools opened with juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
Myth: The growth in the district is just a spurt that will go away.
FACT: According to the report High School Student Population Options prepared by the district’s Facilities Committee, our district will not hit peak high school enrollment until the year 2043. If we stayed with just three high schools, our buildings are projected to be over design capacity for at least the next 55 years!
Myth: If the issue fails in March, the district will build the high school anyway since it is no-additional-millage.
FACT: In order to have the money to build the district, bonds must be sold. In order to sell the bonds, voters must approve the sale. The bonds will be paid off with future tax revenue, meaning your current tax rate on bonds will not increase. Also, in order to open the building the district needs operating funds. If the issue fails in March, there won’t be additional operating funds and thus no money to open the building.
Myth: People in apartments don’t pay property taxes to the schools.
FACT: The property owners of the apartments do pay property taxes to the schools based on the value of the property. While those who are renting may not be writing a check to cover the property taxes like many homeowners do, the property owners generally include the property tax in the rents that they charge.
Myth: The school district should stop growth.
FACT: The Olentangy Local School District is made up of 4 cities (Powell, Westerville, Delaware and Columbus) and 7 townships (Genoa, Berlin, Berkshire, Orange, Liberty, Concord and Delaware). Each of those municipalities controls the zoning in their respective areas. School districts do not have a say in zoning matters.