This FAQ will be updated continuously. Please check back often.
Updated: February 25, 2020
What is the March levy for?
This levy is for operating funds to pay for day-to-day expenses, such as utility bills, supplies, busing, salaries and benefits for staff, and to maintain the academic improvements established over the past several years. The district is using a combination of the new levy request and reduction of $2.7 million in expenditures to continue academic momentum while curbing expenses. This levy is not for building plans.
How much will the levy cost home owners?
The 6.95 millage rate translates into $20.27/month ($243.25 annually) per $100,000 of appraised home value as determined by the county auditor. To understand exactly how much the district’s 6.95-mill operating levy will cost your household, you will need to know your home’s appraised (or fair market) value as determined by your county auditor. Go to your local county auditor’s website and do a real estate property search:
To find the appraised value, referred to as “Market Value,” go to “Tax Distributions” in the right column.
Please note that the assessed value, which is used by the auditor to determine your tax obligation, is 35% of the appraised or market value. A home that is appraised at $100,000 is taxed on only $35,000:
$35,000 x .00695*= $243.25/annually, or 243.25÷12=$20.27/monthly
*.00695 equals the millage rate of 6.95.
What happens if this levy passes?
A passed levy will provide the needed support for school operations, including sustaining educational programs for students. The levy,
along with approximately $2.7 million* of reductions in expenditures, will allow the district to continue academic momentum while simultaneously curbing expenses. The district will continuously seek ways to reduce expenses. After 2021, the Board is committed to limiting the average annual growth in expenditures to 3% or less to extend the levy beyond three years. (Update: The Board formalized this commitment by passing a resolution at the February 18, 2020 business meeting. It will limit annual expenditure growth of the district’s general fund to an average annualized 2.64% for fiscal years ’21 through ’24, according to the new baseline of projected expenditures for fiscal year ’20. See article here
What happens if the levy fails?
If the March levy fails, the district has a fiscal responsibility to enter into the new school year with significant adjustments to the budget due to uncertain funding.
Additional cuts affecting programs, class size, and services to students will be made. If the district fails to pass an operating levy in 2020, it will have to make approximately $3 million of additional cuts in 2021. Some of these cuts will happen before the start of the 2020-21 school year and include the reduction of a minimum of 25 staff members:
- Additional elimination of administrators, including athletics, through reorganization after anticipated resignations, retirements or reduction, and reduction in administrative and clerical support.
- Elimination of Loveland High School transportation per Ohio Revised Code 3327.01., including non-public routes, resulting in the elimination of classified staff.
- Elimination of teaching positions through reductions and reorganization of programs, affecting music, physical education, media centers/library, and gifted services.
- Elimination of instructional coaches (teaching positions), resulting in further reductions in teacher development and supports.
- Additional increases in pay-to-participate fees for student activities.
- Further reductions in department and building budgets.
What is an operating levy?
An operating levy is used to provide money for a school district’s day-to-day operating expenses, including utilities, supplies and salaries/benefits for staff.
What is a “mill?”
A mill is the unit of value for expressing the rate of property taxes in Ohio. It is defined as 1/10 of a percent or 1/10 of a cent (0.1 cent). “Millage” is the factor applied to the assessed value of property to produce tax revenue.
Why a continuing (“permanent”) levy?
Local property tax funding does not increase with inflation or higher property values - it remains flat from year to year unless a new levy is voted in. This is due to Ohio House Bill (HB) 920, which freezes the district’s income by reducing the taxes charged by a voted levy to offset increases in the value of real property. It means that although property values may increase while a permanent levy is in effect, the amount of taxes collected on those properties does not increase. As inflation drives up the value of real property, the auditor reduces the school tax rate so the money going to the schools does not exceed the amount collected in the first year of levy collections. (The reduced rate at which taxes are collected is called the “effective millage.”) Inflation, however, does not only drive up the value of property, it also causes the cost of the day-to-day operations of schools to increase. The state continues to put the responsibility of funding public schools on local communities - keeping up with inflation is impossible under HB 920 and the flat state funding model, and school districts in Ohio generally have to return to their tax payers for additional revenue every three to five years.
From 2016 to 2019, the Loveland City School District local property tax funding decreased by .41%, while residential property values increased by 10.21%.
What is House Bill 920?
Ohio has a law, known as House Bill 920, that keeps school tax collection flat. Basically, this means that school taxes do not increase when home values increase so the total amount collected by the school district on an existing levy stays the same. To find out more, watch this brief video
in which the district treasurer, Kevin Hawley, explains state funding.
How long does the funding from a levy last?
The last operating levy for Loveland Schools was passed by voters in 2014 and promised to last four years. It has now been more than five years since the district started receiving tax collections on the 2014 operating levy.
The combination of the March 2020 6.95-mill request, $2.7 million in expenditure reductions, and a commitment by the Board of Education to limit the annual expenditure growth to 3% or less will allow the funding from this levy to last four years before the district will need to return to voters for additional operating funds. The district has committed to continually seek opportunities for efficiency gains, allowing further reductions in expenditures.
What happens to the construction projects outlined in the master plan?
The Board of Education has paused on the facility master plan while the district works on alternatives for how to meet the school facility needs. The district will not be on the ballot for a building plan in 2020. On January 21, 2020, the Loveland City Schools Board of Education voted to cancel the contract with the Grail, an Ohio nonprofit, for the option to purchase 110 acres of Grailville - a property located on O’Bannonville Road east of downtown Loveland. The land would have accommodated a new campus for Pre-K through 5th grade according to the facility master plan created in 2018-19. (Notice of termination of option to purchase
DISTRICT FINANCES and ACCOUNTABILITY
BOARD OF EDUCATION