By Chris Piper
For years, the Troy City Schools have provided services to its students and their families that we feel have set us apart from other districts.
Because we value our students and their educations, we have done our best to go above and beyond for them, providing such services as:
• All-day kindergarten
• Full-time guidance counselors in all of our elementary buildings
• Transportation services that exceed state minimums
• Course offerings that provide appropriate levels of rigor and relevance
• 1-to-1 Chromebooks for our students
• Extracurricular and co-curricular activities without any additional fees
• School fees and lunch prices that among the lowest in the area
All of these things are done in an effort to empower our students to dream big, work hard and succeed. Unfortunately, all of these opportunities we provide to our students come at a price. A $1.7 million dollar cut in state funding as a result of COVID-19 — with more cuts likely on the way — have made it impossible to be able to continue to offer all of the things to which our families have grown accustomed.
On this year’s ballot, we are asking voters to pass a 0.25-percent earned income tax levy. This tax would only apply to W-2 compensation or self-employment income. It would NOT tax retirement income, social security or property. It would strictly be earned income only.
For someone making $50,000 per year, this tax would cost them $2.40 per week, less than the cost of one cup of coffee. This is the first time the Troy City Schools have asked for new money for operations in 14 years, since 2006.
We feel as though our schools offer our students and families great value. Currently, our operating property tax rates are at the lowest rate allowable by law (20 mill floor). Residents in the Piqua City Schools district pay $2,972.80 in school taxes whether they are employed or retired. Tipp City Schools residents pay $2,923.20 whether they are employed or retired. In Troy, residents currently $2,332 if they are employed and $1,582 if they are retired. All of these numbers are based on a resident making $50,000 per year with a $200,000 home.
Out of 19 schools in Miami County or our current or former athletic leagues, Troy residents pay 16th most in total school taxes.
We understand the global pandemic had a profound impact, economically, on many of the families in our district. Many of you have been forced to make sacrifices as you tighten your belts and adjust your budgets.
At the Troy City Schools, we are doing the same thing. In the last year, the district has responded by eliminating 15 positions, saving more than $1 million, freezing salaries and reducing supply costs by $600,000.
We will continue to be fiscally responsible, regardless of levy passage or not. whether or not this levy passes. If it does not pass, we will again tighten our belts and do what we need to do to balance our budget. This, however, will mean we will not be able to provide the same excellent services to which our students have grown accustomed.
Because we value the students of Troy and their education so much, that’s not something we want to do. We know Troy residents care about our schools. We know they want them to be a leader in education in this region.
We are asking you for your help in maintaining that tradition of excellence. The need is now and the need is real. We are asking that you vote Yes for the Troy City Schools’ earned income tax levy, for our kids and for our future.