What is on the May 4, 2021 ballot?

A 4.9 mill property tax levy will be on the ballot. At this time, a 1.0 mill levy will be expiring, making the actual cost to homeowners 3.9 mill.

When will the levy show on my tax bill?

January, 2022

How many mills will the levy be?

The levy is 4.9 mills, with 4.65 mills to be used for operating expenses and 0.25 mill to be used for permanent improvements (PI). However, there is a 1.0 mill drop-off from a retirement of debt.

What is a mill?

Property tax rates are computed in "millage" with one mill costing a tax payer $1.00 for every $1,000 of taxable value.

Why a 4.9 mill?

The 4.9 mill levy is based on the district's forecast to ensure the levy balances the budget for at least four more years.

How much will this levy cost me?

The net increase in taxes, after a 1.0 mill drop-off from retirement of debt, will be $11.74 per month per $100,000 of property valuation.

How will the funds be utilized?

The funding will allow Rocky River City Schools to fund the day-to-day operations required to maintain a high-quality education and programs for our students. .25 mill of the 4.9 mill will be dedicate to Permanent Improvement.

What is the difference between Operating Expenses and Permanent Improvements?

Operating expenses are the day-to-day costs of running a school district such as textbooks, classroom supplies, technology, salaries and benefits for personnel, utilities and repairs.

Permanent improvements to school property and assets are generally considered to be items lasting for five years or more, including major improvements to buildings and grounds. The proceeds from a permanent improvement levy can not be used for a district's current operating expenses.

When was the last levy?

In 2017, voters passed a 4.9 mill operating levy.

How does the passage of the levy benefit me if I don't have children in the district?

Having a high-quality school system keeps property values high and will keep Rocky River a community of choice for families. Additionally, social and emotional health services for students are imperative this year more than ever. It is in our community's best interest to continue services such as these for our students.

How much does 1 mill generate?

One mill is projected to generate about $1,000,000 annually. This levy is projected to generate about $4,700,000 annually for operating expenses and $250,000 annually for permanent improvements.

Has the district engaged in any cost saving measures prior to this levy appearing on the ballot?

Yes. The District aggressively works to contain costs in a number of ways. Over the last four years, the district has implemented several cost saving measures, including:

  • A retirement incentive in 2019-20 that yielded four additional teacher retirements projected to save over $600,000 over a five-year period.

  • An energy conservation capital project completed in 2019 (new lighting, HVAC controls) projected to provide energy savings of $171,000 per year.

  • Participation in the consortium/group purchasing for healthcare, utilities, food, equipment and materials.

  • Partnership with the City of Rocky River, which includes funding for the artificial turf field, gasoline purchasing and facility usage (ice rink, tennis courts).

  • Refinancing outstanding bonds, which will provide a reduction of 1 mill of debt service property tax millage starting in January of 2022.

  • Managing and investing district funds to provide a return on investment within the confines of state law and board policy.

  • The elimination of an administrative position.

What happens in the levy passes?

If the levy passes, programming to support the academic, social and emotional health of our students will remain strong. A continuity of essential services, such as faculty and staff required to maintain class sizes, our school resource officer program, a nurse in each school, expanded K-5 nutrition services for students and a technology refresh program will be ensured.

Operational monies will be provided to keep up with facility and transportation maintenance and property values will be protected.

What happens in the levy fails?

A reduction plan will be implemented to reduce technology refresh, reduce facilities maintenance and repairs, suspend or reduce support service programs and reduce personnel, which will impact our class sizes, as well as negatively affect the quality of education our students receive.

The expansion of the K-5 hot lunch program would be eliminated.

Why do schools need to increase taxes every few years?

House Bill 920 restricts growth in school revenue despite increased property valuation. As property values rise, the voted millage used to fund schools is rolled back by a like amount. Therefore, growth in school income is severely limited even though school operating costs (electricity, fuel, technology, books, insurance, staffing, etc.) continue to increase. This forces school districts to return to the voters periodically in order to keep up with inflation, increases in student enrollment, unfunded state and federal mandates and other operating increases.

Despite efforts to reform school funding, the major source of income for Ohio school districts continues to be property taxes. In fact, over 82% of our school district’s revenues are generated from local sources.