Friday, February 15, 2008

Olentangy Levy: What about my current tax burden?

Glad you asked.

The Ohio Department of Taxation reports the tax effort -- burden -- for each district in Ohio. Tax burden is defined as the amount of local school district taxes collected as a percentage of personal income. Despite the spin to the contrary, Olentangy has a relatively high tax burden. In fact, the district is the 101st highest ranked out of the state's 614 districts based on the tax department's latest report. It's all right here in Appendix D.

note: School-related property taxes in Olentangy are rising at an annualized rate of over 7% per year, meaning that school-related property taxes are taking an ever-increasing portion of the incomes of district residents. In fact, the district tax burden has increased 61% over the latest seven year's worth of department data.


Scott said...

The correlation between the following 2 numbers are something to behold. Property taxes increasing at a rate of 7%, district salaries increasing at a rate of 6.5%.

Smarter negotiations with unions are only a start. Holding the line on administrative salaries must also happen. Keeping district health plans in line with the private sector must also happen.

How can the district expect us to pay 7% more each year in property taxes when our own salaries increase by an average of only 3.4% each year? - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12/06 to 12/07.

It's time for some tough love. Time for the so-called "conservatives" running our district to actually be fiscally conservative.

Jim Fedako said...


Thanks for noting that I forgot "annualized" with regard to the 7% increase in taxes. I have added it.

John said...


If we compare taxes from two other comparison districts in the area, we will find once again that you are blowing smoke.

Let's use your home for example...

Your home has a market value of $258,700. Your total tax is $4147.06 with $2787.48 going to the schools.

Let's compare to Dublin City Schools...a school district of comparable size..13582 students and growing...

My friend has a home on Cranston Dr. that has a market value of $263,000...pretty close to your's. His taxes are $4872.18 with $3322.72 going to Dublin City Schools which has an enrollment.

Let's compare to another district in the area...Worthington Schools is smaller than Olentangy with 9567 students and shrinking.

I have a friend who lives on Snouffer Road. Her home has a market value of $251,300 which is a little less than your home. Her yearly taxes are $4764.24 with $3200.91 going to the ever smaller Worthington School District.

As you can see by this RAW are actually paying less than the districts in the area one of them significantly smaller. Yet, Olentangy is still growing by 1000 students every year, and you are still complaining about the fact that you are paying less than a school comparable in size?

You talk about how the residents in this district are strapped for about those people who are strapped for cash and paying a mortgage on a more expensive home than they can really afford come to grips with reality and buy a more affordable home. That would be good financial stewardship for their family rather than making in look like they have more money than they do.


Jim Fedako said...


This is the old canard, or red herring if you will.

Keep in mind that if residents built smaller houses in the district, the millage would have to be even higher in order to generate the same revenue.

That is why tax burden is my comparative data point. You can use it to compare across any districts.

Compare an 100 year-old home in Bexley with a similar home in (say) Washington Courthouse. The Bexley home might be (say) $600,000 while the same home in WC is $150,000.

So, the tax based on the higher Bexley mills time the Bexley home value is multiples of the similar home in WC.

How else can you truly compare across districts than by looking at taxes by income?

Pete said...

Reading John's comments, I don't remember anyone saying that Dublin or Worthington manage finances any better.

The problem that we have at Olentangy appears to be happening in just about any suburban district. They all seem to want huge tax increases in order to fund salary increases and health care that are both far better than what is offered elsewhere.

Just because Dublin blows money like crazy, should we? Maybe it's time for a community to step up and stand for FAIR wage increases. Something that I believe will happen in the next union negotiation should this issue fail.

Anonymous said...

Who can help me understand the following statement by an OFK member:

"Olentangy has the lowest starting salary in the area. Additionally, they have the lowest mid level salary as well."

Can this be true, if so, then are 6.5% raises acceptable in the life time of a teacher's involvement with Olentangy Local School District.

Thanks for the help!


Jim Fedako said...


Go back to them and ask for actual figures. Is suspect they are only using a small comparison group and calling it the "area."

Also, ask them about the top of the scale. The district runs more programs than most schools (fact). So why are its costs relatively low? Good management? Nope.

School districts costs are 85% salary and benefits. Because the district is growing, it is able to continually hire inexperienced teachers. When growth stops, and the average teacher experience level rises, the district will be one if -- if not the highest -- taxed districts in the area.

That is because our payscale is relatively high at the high level of experience and education. Look for taxes to rise by 50 to 60% for that reason alone.

There is no way to run an employee-intense organization in a cost-effective manner if your employees are high-paid.

What the district terms fiscal management is really the strange benefot of growth.

Anonymous said...

I was told that the high pay grade is the highest in the area, but not many teachers currently fall into that category. Hence, our cost / student is low.

The last time Olentangy had a vacant position, they recieved 3,000 applications. If the supply of teachers is so high and demand is so low, there is no need to pay a premium and no need for 6.5% pay raises. It's a simple economic equation.

This can be a slippery slope however. Cash can equate to quality, but not always. If you consider perochial scools, their performance typically exceeds public shools, yet they pay far less than public shools do.

So where's the balance and who defines it? Answer: The board I guess?