Thank You Pickerington!
THANK YOU PICKERINGTON!
We are so thankful for your support in passing the Nov. 8 bond issue, and now our team can put plans into motion that will eventually alleviate overcrowding in the district. This page will continue to display information that was shared leading up to Nov. 8 as a reference, along with updates on the Plan for Progress.
In the works now, bond proceeds, along with some previously allocated General Funds, will be used to:
- Construct McGill Junior High School, located at the McGill property. Construction will also include bleachers, concession stands, two locker rooms, a press box, parking and a roadway to accommodate the new junior high's athletic teams.
- Renovate Ridgeview Junior High School
- Central High School — add classrooms, expand the cafeteria, renovate the courtyard, add turf and a baseball field with dugouts
- North High School — add classrooms, renovate the courtyard, add turf and a softball field with dugouts
- Add flexible furniture throughout other schools
- Relocate PLSD's Technology Department into Heritage Elementary
- Renovate the existing building on Yarmouth Road to be used for preschool classrooms
The "Levy Informational Brochure" details the need for additional space and provides accurate information about tax rates and population growth.
What Was on the Ballot?
What Was on the Ballot?
Pickerington voters passed an $89.930 million bond issue on the November 8 ballot. This bond issue was the leanest request possible to meet the facility needs of the district. The bond issue was more than $5 million lower than similar requests that occurred in November of 2020 and May of 2021, and did not include any upgrades to extracurricular spaces or athletic facilities.
Why Do We Need a Levy?
Why is the Levy Needed?
The bond issue will be used to address the rapid growth in the student population by constructing new facilities and renovating and expanding existing facilities. District enrollment is forecasted to increase by nearly 1,000 students by the 2027-28 school year, and nearly every building in the district will be over capacity by that time.
What Will We Get?
What Will We Get?
The district’s capital plan, which includes the proceeds from the $89.930 million bond issue, will be used to:
• Build a new junior high school that can house up to 1,300 students
• Renovate all of Ridgeview Junior High to convert to a building holding separate kindergarten to fourth grade elementary and fifth to sixth grade middle schools; this creates an eighth elementary school that will house about 450 elementary students, and a fourth middle school that will house about 450 middle school students
• Add 24 additional classrooms at Central High School housing up to 650 students; upgrade the cafeteria, expanding capacity by 200 additional students; install secure entryways
• Add 18 additional classrooms to North High School housing up to 470 additional students; install secure entryways
• Renovate and upgrade multiple elementary schools to accommodate growth, making room for up to 375 additional students
How Do We Get an Additional $75 Million?
Will Bond Passage Qualify Pickerington Schools for an Additional $75 Million for Future Projects?
The district has partnered with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) in the past to build or renovate most buildings in the district. We have also executed a Project Agreement (PA) with the OFCC for these projects so that the items addressed in our capital plan, including the $89.930 million bond issue, will count as the district’s share of the OFCC Master Plan for the district. By passing this $89.930 million bond issue, the district’s PA with the OFCC will qualify us for approximately $75 million in future funding from the OFCC to address future capital needs at:
$75 million from OFCC for:
• Tussing Elementary School
• Harmon Middle School
• Diley Middle School
• Lakeview Junior High
• North High School
What Will It Cost Residents?
What Will It Cost Residents?
The district estimates that the passage of this levy will not increase tax rates (measured in mills) for our residents. The county auditor has estimated that the $89.930 million bond issue will require 2.80 mills for debt payments. But because property valuations are forecasted to increase by an average of 24 percent for 2022, and due to the structure of the proposed new debt, we forecast that the county auditor will actually be able to decrease the total tax rate needed to pay district debt service by one-half of a mill.
The tax rate collected by the district to pay debt payments has decreased as outstanding debt has been retired, refunded for better interest rates, and as district valuation has increased. The following chart shows how the cost of the tax rate has changed since the 2015 tax year and what that rate is forecasted to be in the 2022 tax year (which will first be paid in 2023). Note that the forecasted tax rates in 2022 (paid in 2023) include the proposed 2.80 mills for the November 8, 2022 bond issue.
Aren’t Taxes Higher in Pickerington Than in Other Communities?
Aren’t Tax Rates in Pickerington Already Higher Than Other Central Ohio Communities?
Tax rates in the Pickerington community are among the lowest in the Central Ohio area. The following chart shows the total estimated annual taxes paid for a $300,000 market value home in various communities. It also assumes a gross income of $95,000**; a federally adjusted gross income of $78,300; and $15,000 in annual purchases of local taxable goods and services.
Has Pickerington Schools Been Smart with Money?
Has Pickerington Schools Managed Its Resources Wisely?
Pickerington Schools has not sought levies for operations from the community since August of 2011. During that period of time, the district has consistently carried adequate operating reserves to meet its needs. For the 2020-21 school year, the district spent the 3rd lowest among its comparison peers in expenditure per pupil.
Perhaps even more importantly, the district’s administrative expenditure per pupil is also the 5th lowest among its peer groups, which indicates that we concentrate our expenditures on the programs and activities that impact our students the most.
Further, Pickerington Schools offers fantastic value compared to its Ohio Department of Education (ODE) similar district grouping. The charts below show the expenditure per equivalent pupil (EPEP) calculated by ODE for the 2020-21 school year. The EPEP weights the enrollment for expenditures for students in certain categories (e.g. special education, gifted, English Learners, etc.). The weights on these learners are added to recognize the additional staffing and other programmatic expenses to meet their needs. The EPEP is then compared to the Performance Index (PI) score on the 2020-21 Ohio School Report card. The district ranks 3rd highest in PI score, and does so as the third lowest in the group.
Other performance data:
- 95.0% weighted graduation rate for the Class of 2022
- Preliminary 2021-22 Performance Index of 88.838
- 225 Honors Diplomas in the Class of 2022
- 128 students took 278 AP tests and scored 3 or higher for the Class of 2022.
- $25.3 million in scholarships for the Class of 2022
- 74.4% of the Class of 2021 enrolled in college
- 295 students in the graduation cohort of 2022 have at least some college credit at graduation.
- 528 students took college courses thru Central and North HS, earning nearly 2,600 college credits and saving parents and families about $1.356 million in tuition costs.
What Happens if the Levy Fails?
The Choice: What Happens if the Levy Fails?
Our community has the choice on November 8, 2022, to pass the $89.930 million bond issue to provide the district with the capital it needs to address the rapid growth of our community. Moreover, the approval of this bond issue is not forecasted to increase tax rates (measured in mills).
Alternatively, if the bond issue does not pass, the district will lose $75 million in facility funding from the OFCC, and will need to enact measures to deal with crowded schools.
Those measures include, but are not limited to:
• virtual groups;
• redrawing district boundaries more frequently;
• temporary learning spaces (e.g. modulars).
All of these measures impact the delivery and efficacy of education in the district. They are also not as safe (modulars) or create environmental concerns. Finally, these measures are operationally more expensive than capital expenditures, which would further strain our current forecast to forgo any operational levies for at least the next 2 school years. These negative impacts to our schools also adversely impact the community and the value of homes in our community.
Levy/Bond Issue FAQ’s
Other FAQ’s About the November 8 Bond Issue
Q: How did the district come up with this plan?
A: This plan was developed as part of Pickerington’s Plan for Progress, a plan that was created with the help of hundreds of staff and community members. It’s the community’s plan for the future. It lays out what the district must continue to do to remain on a path to providing an excellent education for each student. It reflects resident and staff input and priorities and is focused on our three main goals: academic excellence, modern facilities, and efficient operations.
Q: Where will this new junior high school be located?
A: The new junior high would be constructed on the approximately 66-acre parcel of land owned by the district on Lockville Road, south of Opportunity Way (adjacent to the Pickerington High School Central campus), while Ridgeview Junior High would be repurposed into a facility holding separate kindergarten through fourth grade and fifth and sixth grade schools (note that we gain an eighth elementary school and a fourth middle school).
Q: Where will the renovations and safety updates be made?
A: Secure vestibules (entryways) and classroom space would be added at Pickerington High School North and Pickerington High School Central, while extra seating would be added in the cafeteria at Pickerington High School Central.
Q: Why isn’t the district building a third high school?
A: The district believes that there are several reasons why a third high school is not the best option for now:
1. A new high school does not address the need for room at all levels of the district. Our plan will do the following:
- build a new junior high;
- renovate Ridgeview to become an 8th elementary and 4th middle school;
- purchase Yarmouth for a preschool with an anticipated 20 classrooms;
- allow former preschool classrooms at Pickerington Elementary, Sycamore Creek Elementary, Tussing Elementary and Violet Elementary to be returned to kindergarten through fourth grade use;
- and adds 24 classes at Central and 18 at North.
This addresses our needs in grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth grades, whereas a new high school only creates room at the high school level–if we built a high school, that would essentially be all we could afford to do (see #2).
2. North High School is about 313,000 square feet. Current construction costs for new K-12 facilities are around $400/square foot. So a new high school alone (assuming we build a high school similar to North) would cost around $125 million to $150 million by itself (and that’s probably conservative for a high school facility with current construction and supply chain issues).
3. We do not believe our community would support that much new debt–we’ve already failed a $95 million bond issue twice. We believe it is far more prudent, efficient and fiscally responsible to seek the $89.930 million bond issue that impacts all levels, not just high school.
4. We have survey data to support the fact that, for the most part, our community is not ready for a third high school. This item is more about subjective preference or ‘feel,’ as moving to a third high school is regarded as a ‘watershed’ moment when our community will ‘feel’ large (like a Westerville, Hilliard, Dublin, etc.). Many still regard Pickerington as having a smaller feel to it, and a third high school would disrupt that.
5. And finally, a very pragmatic reason–we don’t currently own any land that is big enough for a high school and its associated campus. We would need at least 120-150 acres (North sits on about 158 acres). McGill is about 66 acres, and it would be rather odd (absurd even) to put a high school on that site anyway, given the proximity to Central.
6. District leadership needs to discuss where a third high school would even make sense based on the analysis of student growth patterns, and other factors like needed infrastructure (roads, utilities, etc.), proximity to other schools, future residential/commercial growth, etc. A parcel or parcels must then be identified that have the features needed, and we must procure the capital needed to purchase it. Proceeds from the bond issue can be used for land, but we’re not ready at this time to identify a future high school site.
Q: Won’t the district just need to return in a couple of years to seek a bond issue for a third high school?
A: The premise of the current plan is to address the current crowding without building a new high school.
The plan adds 24 classrooms to Central–this would expand Central’s capacity by up to 720 students, or to nearly 2,300 students. It also expands North by 18 classrooms, or about 540 students. North’s new capacity would be around 2,400 students. With those new capacities and our projected enrollments, we don’t see North or Central being too full thru the 2029-30 school year (see chart below).
While we may end up growing faster than forecasted, the chart above shows that even thru the 2029-30 school year, with the previously noted capacities for Central and North, we should have some cushion.
It is well known that the Columbus metro area is growing. We should expect that this growth, especially with Intel being just up the road, will impact us. We believe, however, that we’ve planned as well as we can for what is coming. But no amount of planning or forecasting is ever perfect.
What is certain is that we need the space we’re asking for now to address overcrowding, and the possibility of a future bond issue doesn’t change today’s reality.
While there may be the possibility that we grow beyond our current forecasted numbers and a third high school is needed, we have done everything possible to make sure our plan does indeed avoid that for as long as possible.
However, if we do miss the mark on enrollment AND the current bond issue fails, that means we will have grown far more than even we expected, and if that’s true, it is likely that we won’t be just asking for a new high school in five to six years–we’ll almost certainly need to seek a third high school AND the components of the plan we are seeking now. The upshot of that is that we would need to seek nearly $225 million (or more) in a future issue ($89.930 million plus the estimated $150 million for a new high school). And estimating $225 million would be conservative, as current supply chain and construction labor market factors are accelerating construction costs rapidly.
We believe that passing the current bond issue now is far more prudent and cost effective.
As we are growing like the rest of Central Ohio, we have to plan. Our current plan/bond issue ($89.930 million) allows us to do that and meet our most immediate needs now. Our buildings are crowded now, and this plan gets us much needed space now. Meeting our most immediate needs in the next seven to ten years makes the most sense, and it allows us to plan for the future should a third high school ever emerge as a needed option.
Finally, one of the biggest reasons why we believe the plan is most effective now is that right now we know that we will get $75 million from the OFCC for future projects at Tussing, Harmon, Diley, North and Lakeview. We cannot guarantee that in five to six years.
The district believes that all of these factors I’ve covered make now a better option than deferring to the future.
Q: Won’t the district need to seek an operating levy in the future to have the operational funds to open and run the new buildings?
A: We have not asked for new operating funds since August of 2011. Our current forecast shows that we should have adequate reserves at least thru the 2023-24 school year.
The five year forecast plans for growth in students and staffing already, regardless of whether the current bond issue passes. Consequently, the current five-year forecast is currently showing that by the end of the 2023-24 school year, we will have potentially stretched our operating dollars as far as we can.
The district is forecasting the need for an operating levy, most likely by Spring 2024-Fall 2024. By that point, we will have made our last operating levy last for nearly 15 years, showing our commitment to meeting the needs of our students, families and community in fiscally responsible ways.
Q: What is the plan for the building the district is purchasing on Yarmouth Road NW?
A: For some time, the district has been actively searching for additional space in the community that meets our needs. While there are some vacant retail lease spaces available right now in the community (e.g. the former Bed, Bath and Beyond and some other locations), there were issues with each one of those that made utilizing the space non-viable for the district (the most pressing being parking; traffic access for school purposes [e.g., drop off/pickup]; and potentially zoning).
The Pickerington School Board approved a Purchase & Sale Agreement (PSA) at its August 8, 2022 regular board meeting. The PSA is a contractual offer for the district to purchase the property located at 13430 Yarmouth Rd. NW in Pickerington. The property is currently owned by West Fairfield OH, LLC, and was most recently leased to the Ohio Center for Occupational Safety and Health (OCOSH). The building is about 40,500 square feet. OCOSH was a division of the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation. The district offered $3 million for the purchase of the property. We project the purchase of the building on Yarmouth Road may allow us to create up to 20 additional classrooms for preschool students who are currently enrolled at Pickerington Elementary, Sycamore Creek Elementary, Tussing Elementary and Violet Elementary. This is much needed space in these elementary schools.
But perhaps more importantly, we will now not have to renovate Heritage Elementary into a preschool learning center, which will allow us to renovate Ridgeview Junior High into an eighth elementary school and a fourth middle school. Assuming all goes well and we close in mid-November of 2022, we may be able to open preschool classes there in the fall of 2023 (the start of the 2023-2024 school year). However, that may be somewhat aspirational given current supply chain issues and the tight labor markets in the construction industry, so we would need to have contingency plans in place that could push that back to January of 2024 as one iteration, with a final iteration being no later than the fall of 2024 (the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year).
Q: Didn't the district spend money on adding a track and some bleachers along Lockville Road and Opportunity Way? How did the district pay for that?
A: The district has a Capital Development Fund that was established in 1999 by Board Resolution. This fund was created for the purpose of, "...facilitating and encouraging donations to the School District to assist in the acquisition of land, the construction of new facilities, the renovation or expansion of existing facilities and the acquisition of other facilities for school district purposes."
From the fund's inception through August of 2020, the district funded this Capital Development Fund with proceeds from the Cell Tower located at Tiger Stadium and through a budgeted capital transfer in 2020 - in that period of time we amassed about $1.735 million.
In the spring of 2019, the district also passed a formal board resolution at its April 22, 2019 board meeting. This resolution approved the use of the funds in the Capital Development Fund to develop the McGill Property. During the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, the district also added resources to the Capital Development Fund via budgeted capital transfers to the Fund.
The district combined funds from the Capital Development Fund with other existing Capital Funds to complete the following portions of the development of the McGill site:
- Early site preparation at the McGill property, including grading and site preparation to get the property ready for future construction by running utilities (water, gas, sewer, electric, etc.) to the site - the main contractor for this work was Eramo Construction - the total paid to Eramo was $1,299,362
- Adding an athletic track, bleachers and lights to begin the process of moving Tiger Stadium to a location that is adjacent to Pickerington Central High School, and to plan for the combined seventh through twelfth grade campus setting that we wish to construct when we add the new junior high to the site - note that the track at the existing Tiger Stadium was not a regulation track, and the field at Tiger Stadium is in the Sycamore Creek floodway and flood plain - the main contractors for this were Adena (total paid about $3,051,793) and Sturdisteel (total paid about $180,292) - total paid for track, bleachers and lights about $3,232,085
- Architectural fees to SHP, Inc. for all projects - total paid about $37,034
In total, while the district has expended about $4,568,481 on the initial development of the McGill property, that amount still represents only about 5% of what is needed for the district to construct the facilities it needs to address student growth. The McGill projects did not in any way create or cause the district to have to ask for more funding, nor did the McGill projects negatively impact or affect our operations.
But the funds needed for the district to complete its facility plans are currently estimated to be about $89.930 million (the anticipated bond issue). While the district prudently budgeted and used its Capital Development Fund and other capital funds to pay for the McGill projects, the district does not have nearly $90 million in reserves to construct a new junior high; add wings to Pickerington Central and North High Schools; and renovate Ridgeview Junior High into a combined kindergarten through fourth grade and fifth and sixth grade facility. Despite our careful planning and budgeting, it is not possible for the district to raise nearly $90 million in cash for capital projects without a bond issue.
Moreover, the projects that we have already completed on the McGill property will allow us to construct a new junior high much faster given the work completed (i.e. utilities, grading, etc.). Finally, the athletic improvements were completed using dedicated capital dollars that were not diverted from needed operational expenditures, and now will also NOT have to be included in this bond issue and counted as debt.
The current $89.930 million bond issue is over $5 million smaller than the previous bond issues from November of 2020 and May of 2021, and it does not include funds to address athletic or extracurricular facilities.
Q: Hasn’t the pandemic or other economic factors slowed down home construction in our area?
A: No, it actually has not slowed down. New home construction in Pickerington remains strong and while new housing growth brings more students, it also brings more property owners to share in the tax base.
Q: How has Pickerington Schools handled its finances?
A: Pickerington Schools continues to stretch its operating resources, making sure to direct funds where they have the greatest impact on student achievement.
Q: What bond issues are outstanding and what have we paid off?
A: Pickerington Schools paid off the library in December of 2016 and Tussing Elementary School in December, 2015.
At Diley and Harmon Middle Schools, we have an outstanding principal of about $1,355,805. This will be paid off (assuming no refundings) by December of 2025.
At Pickerington High School North and Lakeview Junior High, there is an outstanding principal of about $30,359,195, which will be paid off (assuming no refundings) by December of 2026.
At Toll Gate Elementary, Toll Gate Middle School, and Sycamore Creek Elementary, the outstanding principal is about $35,175,000, which will be paid off (assuming no refundings) by December 2034.
Pickerington Schools’s total outstanding principal/debt as of August 2022 is $66,890,000.
Q: Did the district receive funds from the federal government to address the pandemic, and how are those funds being used?
A: Many in the community have asked how Pickerington Schools spent and/or is spending the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) monies it received from the federal government.
These monies come from multiple federal funds:
- the Elementary and Secondary Educational Relief Funds (ESSER) and the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), as authorized by the CARES Act (ESSER I)
- the second round of ESSER (noted as ESSER II), as authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA)
- ESSER III, as authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021
- ARP ESSER IDEA B funds
- ARP ESSER Homeless Funds
- ARP ESSER State Activity Supplement
- ESSER State Activity Supplement
In total, the PLSD was awarded $12,152,157 across all of these programs. Note that with federal grants, we spend first, then we are reimbursed by the feds. Meaning, we do NOT have $12.152 million just ‘lying around’ in the bank.
To date, we have spent $4,746,475.
$2,161,414 – Instructional Expenditures (summer school salaries/benefits; summer training salaries/benefits; intervention/state testing expenditures; extended paid sick leave benefits; expanded English Learners teachers; among others)
$1,608,235 – Support Services Expenditures (summer school salaries/benefits; extended paid sick leave benefits; LETRS training; Catlin Tucker training; summer school supplies; PPE; DEI training/work; expanded WiFi, technology infrastructure; among others)
$887,485 – Capital Equipment (chillers and HVAC equipment at District Office, Pickerington High School North, Lakeview Junior High, Heritage Elementary; secure vestibules; fiber project; among others)
$48,637 – Extracurricular Services (PPE for locker rooms; additional PPE for restrooms; among others)
$40,704 – Community Services (English Learner support; extended paid sick leave benefits; food service PPE; among others)
- have $1.6 million encumbered for the high school vestibule (entryway) projects
- have $2.3 million encumbered for the installation of a fiber network connecting all of the district’s buildings and allowing for future expansion of the network to include other entities and operations.
- will be paying for all of the 2022 and 2023 summer school costs with ESSER funds (estimated at $650,000 each summer.
- will be paying for extensive after-school programming across all grade bands in 2022 and 2023 to address learning loss (estimated costs $1,500,000)
- extensive teacher professional development to align curricula and address learning gaps (estimated $750,000)
- have budgeted the three additional English Learner teachers noted in the Instructional Expenditures category above into the 2022-2023 school year.
At this point, there is not a single penny of ESSER funds that we have not tied to a plan that was approved by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). When it comes to federal dollars and schools, we have to devise a plan and a budget that is approved by ODE.
School Finance Definitions
School Finance DefinitionsBond Levy
A bond levy is a levy that allows the district to issue debt to build or improve buildings. It is a "bricks and mortar" levy. Bond levies cannot be used to pay staff or utilities or any other operating expenses. Bond levies are used to build buildings but cannot be used to operate new buildings. Bond issues cannot pay for ongoing maintenance.Regular Operating LevyAn operating levy funds the day-to-day operations of the district. It can be used for salaries, instructional supplies, textbooks, transportation costs, maintenance and upkeep, etc. The millage rate is submitted to voters for approval, not the dollar amount. The millage rate is adjusted lower as property values increase. It can be for a limited amount of time or continuing.Emergency LevyAn emergency levy funds the day-to-day operations of the district. It can be used for salaries, instructional supplies, textbooks, transportation costs, maintenance and upkeep, etc. This type of levy is submitted to the voters as a dollar amount. An emergency levy can only be voted in for a period of one to ten years.Permanent Improvement LevyPermanent improvement levies are for projects and equipment that have a useful life of five years or more. New roofs, renovations, and school busses are assets that fall into this category.Real Estate TaxesThis is a tax levied on land and buildings located within the school district. Individuals and businesses pay this tax on the property they own. Two key components in calculating real estate taxes are the taxable or assessed value (market value x 35%) of the property and the millage rate.
The market value is the estimated sales value of the property. For purposes of real estate taxes, the county auditor determines the market value of all of the property in the county. The county auditor then calculates the taxable/assessed value for each property.
Taxable value and assessed value are different terminologies for the same thing.
The taxable value is determined by taking 35% of the market value of the property. For example, a home that would have a market value of $100,000 would have a taxable value of $35,000.Re-appraisal and Triennial Update
The county auditor is responsible for assigning a market value for all of the individual properties in the county. Every six years, the county auditor appraises all of the properties to determine their market value. This is a re-appraisal. Every three years, the county auditor does an update of the market values based on home sales. This is a triennial update.MillsProperty tax rates are computed in mills. A mill is 1/1000 or .001. One mill costs a property owner $1.00 for every $1,000 of taxable value.Inside Millage
In Ohio, millage is referred to as "inside" millage and "outside" millage. Inside millage is millage provided by the Constitution of the State of Ohio and is levied without a vote of the people. It is called inside millage because it is "inside" the law. Another name would be un-voted millage.The Constitution allows for 10 mills of inside millage in each political subdivision. Public schools, counties, townships, and other local governments are allocated a portion of the 10 inside mills.Outside MillageOutside millage is any millage "outside" the 10 mills that is provided by the Constitution of the State of Ohio. This millage is voted on by the public. Another name for outside millage is voted millage.Effective MillageEffective millage is the millage rate that is currently levied on property. Once a levy is voted in, a school district cannot collect any additional money due to valuation increases from reappraisal or triennial updates on that levy. As property values increase, the millage rate on that voted levy is decreased so that the levy generates the same amount of money. This reduced millage rate is referred to as effective millage. The only way school districts get any additional money on voted millage is from new construction or from having their millage reduced to the minimum amount allowed by law (20 mill floor).House Bill 920During the 1970s, property values were increasing at a very high rate. In 1976, the Ohio Legislature enacted House Bill 920. This bill effectively freezes all voted real estate millage at the dollar amount collected the first year the millage went into effect. As property values rise through reappraisal or triennial updates, the outside millage is reduced. In simple terms, the amount of money a school district collects from a levy does not increase as property values increase.20 Mill FloorAs property values increase, voted millage rates are decreased so that school districts don't collect any additional money on voted millage due to inflation. Over time, millage rates could be reduced to near zero. To keep this from happening, Ohio law establishes a minimum millage level, or floor, that millage rates cannot fall below. This minimum level is 20 mills. Once a district's total millage is reduced to 20 mills, it cannot be reduced any further, hence the 20 mill floor.Homestead Exemption
The homestead exemption allows senior citizens whose Ohio adjusted gross income is less than $30,000 to reduce their property taxes by exempting $25,000 of the market value of their home from all local property taxes. The limiting income provision applies only to homeowners who turn 65 beginning in 2014. No homeowner who currently qualifies for the exemption will lose it. To qualify, an Ohio resident must be at least 65 years old or be totally and permanently disabled and own and occupy a home as their principal place of residence. For individuals who own more than one home, the principal place of residence is the home where the person is registered to vote and the person's place of residence for income tax purposes. Applications for the exemptions are available at the county auditor's office.