By THOMAS M. LYDEN
The village school board has voted unanimously to place a $4 million bond issue on the November ballot, but it may cost taxpayers slightly more than anticipated.
In mid-June, Columbiana County Auditor Nancy Milliken estimated the tax levy to be 1.228 mills, meaning that for homes valued at $100,000 property taxes would increase $37.61 per year — totaling $1,090.69 over the 29-year life of the bond.
However, those figures need revising after the signing of Ohio’s new budget. Since the 1970s, the state has subsidized 12.5 percent of property tax increases for schools and libraries. But the new budget eliminates that property-tax rollback on all new levies and bond issues.
As a result, if the proposed bond issue passes, for homes valued at $100,000, property taxes would increase by $42.98 per year — totaling $1,246.42 over the 29-year life of the bond. That is a difference of $5.37 per year and $155.73 over 29 years.
Therefore, the school administration is asking community members to reach out to their state representatives in the hopes of passing an emergency bill to delay the elimination of the property-tax rollback.
The purpose of the proposed $4 million bond issue is to make permanent improvements at South Side Middle School, which was built in 1962. The middle school’s leaky roof has become such a problem that next year, half the building will be closed. The middle school also is the only building in the district that lacks air conditioning.
Despite its physical condition, South Side Middle School recently earned an “excellent with distinction” rating on the state report card, placing it among the top 14 percent of schools in the state. The Ohio Department of Education also selected the middle school as one of its “Schools of Promise” — recognizing the school’s high level of achievement even though at least 40 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged.