Frequently asked questions

Why is a levy needed?

This levy is a renewal of an emergency (flat rate) levy. The levy is used to fund district operational costs, including, but not limited to staffing, busing, utilities, and supplies. The levy will generate $1.275 million per year for 4 years. The renewal of this levy will allow for continued cashflow to the district to maintain the current level of education provided to all students.

What happens if the levy fails?

Failure to find additional revenue will have a drastic impact on our educational programming. The Board of Education and administration will have to make decisions for the next budget on reductions that will have a direct impact on student education. This includes cutting teachers and course opportunities for students. Please see the Levy Impact page for a full list of cuts.

Why is the Van Buren Local Schools deficit spending?

The district is deficit spending by $1.3 million this year, meaning the district is using money from savings to pay for current bills. Since 2011, federal funding per pupil for Van Buren Schools decreased by 40%, while state funding as a % of total revenues fell from 35% to 26% of revenues. These losses must be absorbed by the district’s general fund budget to cover mandated services - many of which are unfunded - shifting the school funding burden to local taxpayers.

What makes Van Buren Local Schools great?

The Van Buren community has long expected that its schools deliver a comprehensive, quality education to its students. The schools have delivered, providing education that consistently meets or exceeds increasing state and federal educational requirements.
This issue will allow the district to preserve the educational excellence the community has come to expect from its schools.

What is on the ballot?

An emergency (flat rate) property tax levy is on the ballot. A property tax levy is the collection of taxes charged on the value of property. County officials charge and collect the tax under the terms specified in the tax levy proposal. An emergency levy is a property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum of 10 years) proposed for a specific dollar amount. Because the dollar amount of taxes charged by the levy must stay constant, the millage rate increases or decreases as property values change.

Where is the money going?

This levy is to raise general operating dollars for the district. General operating dollars are used for the day to day operations of the district. Including, salaries and benefits, school supplies, maintenance, custodial, and food service expenses, utility cost, special education, preschool, student College Credit Plus classes, counseling services, transportation costs, extra-curricular activities, and other educational opportunities. Passage of this levy will allow the district to maintain the current level of state and nationally rated staff and programs, as well as maintain our aging facilities and fleet. Because 70-80% of the school's expenses are teacher and staff salaries, most of the funds will be used to retain and recruit great instructors. The remainder will support other operating expenses like school supplies, buses, and utilities. Funds will also be used for building maintenance, but not for any new building(s).

Who will pay the levy?

This tax is a property tax levy. Property owners within the district will pay based on the value of their properties.

What cuts have already been made to help save costs?

Mid 2019-2020 -A hiring freeze for all vacated positions unless replacement is a regulatory requirement. -A spending freeze for all non-critical, non-emergency supplies and materials. -A restriction on professional development training and education for staff. -A restriction of all non-regular school-sponsored transportation (regular transportation is defined as “to and from school”). This includes all remaining elementary school field trips. **These strategies resulted in $600,000 in reductions from the November 2019 projections. 2020-2021 School Year -Not replacing 1 middle school ELA teacher, elementary school librarian, and an assistant treasurer position, which were all vacated due to retirement. -The previously agreed upon increase to the base salary of 2% for the 2020-2021 school year was decreased to 1% for all certified teachers. -Reduction of 1 elementary aide. -Eliminated all extended days for 4 staff members. -Reduced extended days by 50% for 3 staff members. A performance audit has been completed, outlining potential areas the district can save money in the future. Please view the audit here

Why do school districts need to ask for levies?

Funding of schools from the State of Ohio has been a controversial affair for a number of years. The Ohio Supreme Court reviewed the DeRolph vs. State of Ohio case three separate times (in 1997, 2000, and 2002) and ruled the current state funding model unconstitutional all three times. Despite being deemed unconstitutional, no changes have been made from the state. This requires districts to continue to ask taxpayers for additional funding to cover the ever-rising costs of education. Learn more about DeRolph vs. the State of Ohio here.

How can the district afford a school nurse?

The district is posting for the position of a school nurse thanks to the Coronavirus Relief Fund, a part of the federal CARES Act. This fund is to be used specifically for the health and safety of the Van Buren students and staff. All expenses from this position will be paid from this fund (including wages). This is an hourly position. If the students are not in session, the nurse will not be paid.

How can we fix the amount of revenue from the state?

According to the Ohio Performance Team, we can't. The only ways to increase our funding from the state is to lower our property values or to rewrite the state funding formula. We are considered to be a "cap" district, meaning we do not receive all of the funding the formula allots for us. In fiscal year 2019, Van Buren Schools received 78.3% of the funds the formula calculated because we were capped out.

What will my taxes be if this levy passes?

Use the following formula to calculate your taxes: Home valuation x 0.35 = taxable value Taxable value x 0.0042 = amount of taxes paid to the district *Please note, the millage of this levy is 4.2, which is 1 mill less than the last time the levy was renewed in 2016.

Does Van Buren have a spending problem?

No. According to the Ohio Performance Team that completed the performance audit, there are only 8 similar districts in the state that spend less than Van Buren does.

Success for VBS!