Dear Piqua Citizens:
We have received a few questions regarding the upcoming November 7 ballot issue to renew our existing operating levy. To provide information to you on this important issue, we have answers to your questions below.
As a quick overview, Piqua City Schools is on the ballot for the renewal of its current operating levy. This means passage of this issue is a ZERO increase in taxes to the residents of Piqua. This measure merely continues the funding the district already receives. Passage of the levy will maintain our school district’s day-to-day operations so our teachers can continue to have what they need to educate Piqua students.
Thank you for your questions and effort to educate yourselves on this important issue! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
Thank you for your generous, continued support of our schools.
Dwayne A. Thompson
Answers to most frequently asked questions about the November 7 levy
Q. What is on the November 7 ballot for Piqua City Schools?
A. Piqua City Schools is on the November 7 ballot to extend the district’s existing Emergency Operating Levy. While no additional taxes will be added with the passage of the levy, a vote is still required every 5 years for its renewal. We are very gracious to the Piqua community for supporting this levy in 2003, 2008, and 2013. Operating funds from this levy are used in the classroom, giving teachers the essential tools they need to continue to educate our students properly.
Q. What is an Emergency Operating Levy?
A. An Emergency Levy is a type of levy for a limited period of time - in this case, five years.
Q. If approved, how will this money be used?
A. This levy is about maintaining our school district’s fiscal health so our teachers can continue to have what they need to educate students. Specifically, funds generated from this levy will support the day-to-day operating costs such as teachers, transportation, utilities, technology, classroom supplies, student programs and opportunities and more.
Q. How has Piqua City Schools saved tax payers money?
A. The district continues to operate in the black. In fact, the 2016-17 school year marked the 10th straight year of doing so. Not only that, but Piqua City Schools was recently recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada with The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and The Association of School Business Officials Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting. This means not only has the district handled its finances well, but it has met a high standard in transparency when it comes to how its money is spent. Below are some specific examples of how the district has been good stewards of tax dollars:
• Rebid property liability insurance: saving $200,000 annually
• Refinanced PJHS saving $1 million of tax payer’s dollars and the district will pay off this bond one year early in 2019
• Replaced 1987 track at Alexander Stadium with Premier Health partnership funds saving $619,586
• Secured an EPA grant to support the purchase of 4 buses saving $178,258
• No locally funded initiatives with the new K-6 building project eliminating the use of additional local tax dollars to complete this project
• Secured Straight A Grants for Technology totaling $1,791,875 bringing your State taxes back to Piqua to support Piqua students
• Teacher written grants $41,000 FY17 to support student programming
• Reducing staff through attrition when appropriate due to reduced student enrollment in select courses or reallocating staff based on need.
• Shared services - sharing cost of staff with Upper Valley Career Center, Piqua Catholic, Miami County Educational Service Center, and Covington
Q. What happens if the levy passes?
A. This levy is about protecting the good quality that is Piqua City Schools with no new tax dollars. If the levy passes, it means we can protect and preserve our fiscal health while providing the support our students need. Every dollar will stay in the district to fund important day-to-day operations.
Q. What will happen if the levy does not pass?
A. If this levy is defeated it will significantly effect our operations. Funds from this renewal levy represent $2.1 million in current operations and loss of these funds will put our healthy schools at risk and lead to potential cuts that will break all momentum we have established.
Q. To avoid long lines at the polls, can I vote early during the November election?
A. Yes. You may request a ballot to be mailed to your home starting Oct. 11 through noon on Nov. 4, 2017. All registered voters have the option to vote early. Applications will not be automatically mailed out, however, you can either obtain an early voting application at any Piqua school building or on line at https://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/forms/11-A.pdf.