Genoa schools: Board weighing options for November ballot

By Larry Limpf

With the possibility of additional cuts in state funds looming, the Genoa school board is considering options for placing levies on the November ballot.
The board last week approved a resolution of necessity for seeking renewal of a 3.9-mill, 5-year operating levy that generates about $605,000 annually.
Bill Nye, district treasurer, said the board intends to place the issue on the ballot as a renewal but will convert it to a continuous levy instead of a term issue. The levy was originally passed in 2005 and has been renewed twice since then.
By having a continuous levy not requiring renewal votes, Nye said the district would save about $3,000-$5,000 in election costs.
The board is also weighing options for additional millage but is waiting for more information from the state on funding for schools. The Genoa district lost about $230,000 in state funding this spring when Gov. Mike DeWine - citing the shutdown of a large segment of the economy due to the coronavirus - announced plans to balance the fiscal year 2020 state budget with $775 million in general revenue fund reductions, including reducing revenues for K-12 schools by about $300.4 million.
The state 2020 fiscal year ends June 30.
Nye and other treasurers have been trying to discern what the state plans to do in fiscal 2021.
“Everything right now is pointing to bigger cuts,” Nye said. “But the COVID-19 is putting a lot of unknowns out there. We don’t know what the state is going to do. Hopefully we will know more when our July board meeting comes around.”
He said the board is considering two options for new millage in November : a 4.9-mill or an 8.9-mill issue. Each would be for operating expenses and have five year terms if placed on the ballot.
A 4.9-mill levy would generate about $930,000 annually and an 8.9-mill levy would generate about $1.7 million annually, Nye said.
The 4.9-mill levy “would give us a little bit of a breather” while the 8.9-mill levy would provide “six to seven years of positive balances” in the operating budget, he said.
The Genoa board is scheduled to meet July 21 when it will consider resolutions to proceed with the levies. Nye said he will be meeting with the board’s finance committee prior to then and hoped to have more information for the committee.
“This is unprecedented. It is making it tough for us moving forward and planning,” he said.
Other local districts and the amounts of their reduced state funding in fiscal 2020 are:
-Lake - $296,816
-Eastwood - $325,615
-Northwood - $144,861
-Gibsonburg - $147,815
-Woodmore - $198,679
-Benton-Carroll-Salem- $360,720
-Oregon - $642,438
The cuts average about $207 per student, with the highest, Benton-Carroll-Salem schools, cut by $251 per student and Oregon and Gibsonburg the lowest, $186 per student.
The bulk of the state’s revenue comes from income taxes and sales taxes, which reflect employment and commercial activity.


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