Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spin heard along the way

Spin: Olentangy has a relatively low cost per pupil.

True? Not when you take into account all district funds.

An example: According to the latest data available from the state, Olentangy's bond millage is the 31st highest out of the 614 school districts in Ohio. 31st? Wow, that's expensive! And, it's bound to get more expensive should the levy pass.

It is correct that growing districts pass bond mills to pay for new schools, but they also use bonds to pay for things that other districts fund through their operating budget; items such as capital improvements and technology. And, districts with older building are more likely to incur such expense.

Olentangy has a relatively large demand for new buildings which is offset by a relatively low demand for capital improvements. It's just like a new house versus an older one. The new one has a large mortgage while the older house has high costs for upkeep; normal wear and tear (roofs, AC, etc.)

So, only including the general -- operating -- fund does not tell the true story; a story you recognize when your property tax bill is due.

2 comments:

Charlie said...

I have often wondered....and perhaps someone can enlighten me....if a school district is growing, that usually means more homes being built in the district.

Does not that mean more homes to tax for school funds ??

If so, why is growth always the reason for taking more money from the homeowners ?

Is, then, growth a bad thing ???

Jim Fedako said...

charlie,

Good question. The answer is not so easy. It depends on the mix of students to valuation. IT also depends on the district's salary structure. Right now, growth is keeping Olentangy's costs low since the district hires new teachers at a relatively low salary. Once Olentangy stops growing and its workforce ages, expect a 30% to 40% increase in costs -- and, hence taxex -- just to keep the current programs.