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Avon Schools, residents will benefit from merging levies: ENDORSEMENT


Avon Schools has a lot of levies floating around out there, so many, in fact, that Superintendent Mike Laub told us that one of the chief complaints he hears from voters is "fatigue" from all the issues the district puts on the ballot.

In order to combat this and stabilize the district's finances, the district is asking voters to merge five of the six levies they pay into one single issue and make it permanent.

It's actually a pretty good idea and has the added benefit of not increasing property taxes for Avon property owners.

The levy would combine 14.26 mills worth of issues into a single levy that, if approved, would simply continue on without having to come back to voters again. The levy would continue to generate the nearly $11.9 million for the district that the five levies it replaces do at the same cost to property owners.

For instance, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would continue to pay $436.72 in property taxes.

"This isn't new money," Laub told us. "This is money that's in our budget to keep the programs we have running."

It also accounts for around 25 percent of the district's annual budget of roughly $40 million.

The merged levy doesn't include a 1.25-mill levy that the district uses to make capital improvements such as roof repairs and parking lot improvements, Laub said. That levy would continue to be on the ballot every five years.

Laub said the district does its best to be fiscally responsible while providing excellent services to its students. Indeed, the district had one of the best report cards from the Ohio Department of Education in the county.

Laub also said the district is realistic that combining these levies into a single permanent measure will not keep the district from having to go back to voters to ask for more money in the future. He said given how much school funding is tied to property taxes in Ohio that would be impossible.

But it will keep the district from having to seek renewals as often, and the levy's generation of additional funds from taxes on new construction means that future levies can be delayed or will cost property owners less, he argued.

The need for additional funds for the district is also pretty much assured because costs always go up and Avon Schools continues to grow. Right now, Laub said, the district has around 4,400 students, but that figure is expected to rise to 5,000 students in the coming years.

Overall, combining the levies and guaranteeing Avon Schools a steady revenue stream that keeps the district from having to pester voters with levies every few years is good for the district, the students and the residents.

Avon voters should approve Issue 35.

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