Botkins BOE considers levy

Staff Writer
BOTKINS – New changes in school funding have Botkins school board members looking for a way to ask voters for a renewal levy, which will likely go on the ballot in a special election in February.
A current 2-mill operating levy is scheduled to expire after tax year 2013. However, the 5-year levy has rolled back to 1.865 mills. New legislation with the 2013 Ohio budget bill allows school districts with existing levies to stay under the state 12.5 percent state rollback subsidy plan, while replacement and new levies will not be subsidized, eliminating the 12.5 percent state pickup.
“I think February is our best bet,” said Botkins Local School Board President Jack Koenig.
Board members discussed the possibility of having two levy options on the ballot, a renewal and a new .135 mill levy to pick up the difference in the 2 percent. Renewing the levy would produce $65.28 in funds for the district per $100,000 home, with $8.16 subsidized from the state, for a total cost of $57.12 to the homeowner.
A straight out new 2-mill levy without the subsidy would create $70 for the same home, all paid by the taxpayer. Asking and approving two separate levies for the same amount would generate the same $70, but cost the homeowner $61.84.
Board members agreed that public education on the complex tax issue would have to be done to convince voters.
In other news, John Ondo, of Ondo Media, gave a brief presentation to board members on what the finished product may look like for a video reflection in the works to provide a history of the old school building.
Ondo has contracted with the school to prepare the video on both DVD and blue-ray format. Along with the documentary, Ondo also is to provide marketing and communications and help to involve alumni in social media.
Ondo asked for a small committee of school history experts to be formed to look into stories that stick out from past history of the school. Ondo plans to research those and ask people involved to tell key stories. Ondo said he plans to look into ways to incorporate the new school into the history, too.
A website for the project would be launched in 2014 and a final product would be released in 2015.
Ondo presented excerpts from another project he had completed with the Elida Local School District.