Troy BOE gears up for levy

TROY — Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper updated the board of education on how they’ve been spreading the word regarding the district’s campaign seeking an earned income tax levy on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The 0.25 earned income tax would raise $2 million per year if passed for general operating costs.

The district currently has a continuous 1.5 percent income tax. The 0.25 percent is on earned income tax only and will not affect property taxes. This levy will cost someone who makes $50,000 per year approximately $2.40 per week.

“Troy city schools are a great value,” Piper said, noting the district’s programs he feels are better than others in comparison.

Piper said there is a considerable amount of information regarding the levy on the district’s website and its importance. Piper said he is working on a newsletter, participating in the virtual Meet the Candidates night on Wednesday evening, meeting with Parent Teacher Organizations for each elementary, and two upcoming Facebook Live information sessions. Board member Sue Borchers reported what the campaign committee is planning for the upcoming weeks including voting outreach and campaign literature.

Piper said one of the more interesting points being made on the Facebook Live sessions is the comparison of how Troy City Schools funding compares to Tipp City and Piqua City school districts.

Piper gave the example of a resident making $50,000 in a $200,000 valued home and their tax rate for each district. Piper said it was “eye-opening” noting how each district’s school tax base differs: Piqua City Schools has a tax on all sources of income, Troy City Schools has a mix of both property and earned income tax and Tipp City has only property taxes to fund its schools.

Piper said between Tipp City and Piqua in the same scenario, it’s around $3,000 a year to support their districts, yet Troy is 20 percent lower or $600 less. For Troy retirees, that amount is cut in half due to the earned income tax base source

Piper also studied the per-pupil expenditure for Troy students, which is average among districts of Troy City Schools’ size. From that data, Piper said he was surprised at the average cost due to operating nine school district buildings.

“For me, it’s a clear indicator that we don’t have a spending problem in Troy. Our spending has been very responsible for a long, long time. Just look at the fact that we haven’t asked for additional operating dollars in 14 years. That is very rare in the school business. The fact that we are able to do that should indicate our fiscal responsibility … what we have here is a revenue problem,” Piper said.

Piper said the state’s cuts of $1.7 million have been devastating to the district’s finances and “the need here is real.”

The district has already cut 15 positions from its staff, saving approximately $1 million. If successful on Nov. 3, some, but not all, of those positions, would be restored. The district’s staff have agreed to a salary freeze for the 2020-2021 school year and slashed its supply and materials budget by $600,000.

If the tax issue is passed, Troy City Schools will be able to continue to offer all-day kindergarten, nurses and school counselors in each building, high school student transportation, transportation for students who live up to 2 miles from school, co-curricular and extracurricular programs, and its wide variety of elective courses.

For more information, visit www.troy.k12.oh.us or join Piper on the social media platform Facebook Live on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. for live chats.