Board begins process to put issues on ballot

Posted On: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Ottawa Hills Board of Education on Tuesday (June 16) unanimously passed resolutions by 5-0 votes beginning the process to place two tax issues before Village voters Tuesday, Nov. 3: a levy for operating expenses and a bond debt to finance building projects. Voters will be asked to vote yes or no on each request separately.

In preparation for the request, a levy campaign committee has been formed. It is co-chaired by parent volunteers and Village residents Kathy Lathrop and Joy Hajjar. The committee is currently building a levy team composed predominantly of parents and community members.

Before levies or bond issues are placed on a ballot, a governmental unit has to pass a series of public votes. The first such vote in that process occurred at the board's regular meeting.

The operating levy request will be 4.9 mills; it would increase annual school taxes on a $200,000 home by $343, or about $29 a month. The board voted to seek the operating levy for four key reasons: to address recent and future state cuts; maintain low class sizes (especially in core areas of math and science); build and maintain support systems for all learners; and increase support for students' mental health and socio-emotional needs. Voters last approved an operating levy in November 2013.

The bond debt request will be an estimated 2.6 mills for 30 years; it would increase annual taxes on a $200,000 home by $182, or about $15 a month. The board voted to seek the bond levy to provide physical improvements in three primary areas: year-round climate control in both buildings to maximize student learning opportunities 365 days a year; much-needed STEM and science classroom improvements; and a new learning space to enrich personalized learning and collaborative educational opportunities.

Each mill assessed generates about $163,000 in revenue for the district. Stay tuned for more news about board actions related to the levy and bond requests.

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