Elida, Bath, W-G levies to come before voters

Apr. 29—ELIDA — Elida schools is asking voters to renew a permanent improvement levy the district has relied on since 2008 to pay for building maintenance and repairs.

The levy generates about $369,000 annually, costing taxpayers an estimated $26 per $100,000 of appraised value, or 1 mill every $1 of taxable property, according to district estimates provided to the Allen County Election Board.

If renewed, the levy will remain for five years.

The request comes before voters as the district faces backlash from parents who disapprove of its policy allowing transgender students to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, as required by federal Title IX regulations.

Parents and community members upset by the policy met with the school board last week urging the board to adopt a new standard. "The community will back you if you stand for what is right," resident Shawn Ward said that evening.

The meeting is one of several in recent weeks during which attendees have suggested voting against the levy to send the school board a message.

Still, the Elida board unanimously adopted a resolution last week outlining its fiscal responsibility and the risk of civil lawsuits or revocation of federal funding if the district doesn't comply with federal law.

District leaders urged community members to petition their lawmakers about the issue instead.

Elida schools Treasurer Joel Parker said the permanent improvements levy supports a variety of maintenance projects and safety upgrades on "any assets that last over five years." He estimated the district's facilities are worth at least $100 million collectively.

"We've got some of the best facilities in Northwest Ohio," Parker said. "I want to keep it that way."

Should the levy fail, Parker said the district might have to consider delaying maintenance, which could become more costly the longer projects are delayed.

"If you delay the repairs on a leaky roof," he said, "is it going to damage the ceiling tiles? Is it going to put moisture in the building? Is it going to create other issues? ... We just can't afford to delay repairs."

Bath asks to switch to continuing levy

Bath schools is asking voters to adopt a continuing substitute emergency levy, worth about $3.7 million annually or one-quarter of the district's general fund, that would allow the district to collect additional revenue from new construction and would no longer need to be renewed every five years.

The district uses the levy for general operating expenses like salaries, supplies and utilities.

Superintendent Rich Dackin said the levy would not impose new taxes on current homeowners, whose taxes are capped at $3.7 million per year. Instead, the levy would generate additional revenue from new construction at a proposed rate of 11.254 mills or $394 per $100,000 of assessed value, according to district materials.

Homestead and rollback tax credits will not be lost if the levy is approved, according to district materials.

W-G asks to renew levy

Waynesfield-Goshen schools is asking voters to renew its permanent improvement levy, which generates about $206,000 per year, for another five years at a rate of 4.9 mills for each $1 of taxable value. That equals about $104 for each $100,000 of appraised value, according to district estimates.

The levy was first adopted in 1974 and later increased in 2003 from 1.5 mills to 4.9 mills.

The permanent improvement fund accounts for roughly 4% of the district's overall budget, Superintendent Tim Pence said via email Thursday.

Recently, Pence said the levy has allowed the district to upgrade exterior doors, technology and school security, as well as other maintenance projects for the athletic field, playground, parking lot and school buildings.

The funds may also be used to purchase textbooks and instruction materials, Pence said.