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Published: Tuesday, 1/15/2013

IMPROVEMENT FUNDS

Oregon OKs plan to renew tax issue

5-year levy will generate $1.15M

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF

The Oregon Board of Education has taken the first step toward asking voters to renew the district's two-mill permanent improvement levy.

The five-year property tax expires at the end of the year and generates about $1.15 million annually, Jane Fruth, the district's treasurer, said. That works out to a cost of $61 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.

“This is not a new tax,” Ms. Fruth said. “If your home went down in value, you will pay less. If the value has increased, you will pay the same.”

Voters adopted the millage in November, 2008, and it went into effect the following year. Originally it was projected to yield $1.25 million annually, but the collection amount has been less because of declining property values.

In its action last week, the school board authorized sending the request to the Lucas County Auditor to calculate the exact millage needed to produce the amount the tax currently yields. Another board vote will be required to place the millage request on the ballot.

The permanent improvement funds have been used to buy technology for classrooms, to maintain and repair buildings, to buy and maintain buses, and to make textbook purchases. It also will be used to prepare Eisenhower and Fassett middle schools for the district's planned reconfiguration of grades five through nine, in which the buildings will become an intermediate school and junior high, respectively, next year.

The money cannot be used for operational expenses.

Board members emphasized the importance of the tax to the district.

President P.J. Kapfhammer noted that the money has been used to improve the energy efficiency of school buildings “to streamline our expenses going forward.”

He said it also was used to improve security at the schools.

Superintendent Michael Zalar said without revenue from the permanent improvement levy, the district would have to dip into the general fund, further straining it.

In other business, the board re-elected Mr. Kapfhammer as president and voted Carol Molnar vice president.



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