Bond and Levy
Since the Board of Education approved the bond issue (Question 1) and the operating levy increase (Question 2) to be included on the April 4 ballot, I have met with every building and department at scheduled informational meetings. During second semester the District will implement a variety of methods to provide additional information regarding the bond and levy to staff, parents, and patrons. If at any time you have questions please email me and I'll respond. If it requires a meeting or conversation for better understanding I'm happy to schedule that with you as well.
Bond and Levy Questions and Answers
Question 1- No Tax Increase Bond Issue
What are bonds used for?
New Construction, Facility Improvements, and/or Renovations
What was the process to determine what projects would be included on the bond issue?First the District selected an architect to assess every facility in the district to help determine needs. After assessing each facility and receiving staff input, the architect provided the District with a master plan that outlined all the facility needs. The master plan outlines the District's 10 year plan to improve facilities. Next, the projects included in the master plan were prioritized with input from a parent/patron committee and approved by the Board of Education.
What projects are included on the Question 1- No Tax Increase Bond Issue?
Why were these projects selected?
The projects selected resonated most with parents, patrons and staff. The projects impact all students in the District (Pre kindergarten through high school). The projects address much needed improvements across many areas of the District and in most cases are seen as safety or space concerns.
Question 2- Operating Levy Increase
What is an operating levy used for?
The operating levy is how school districts generate local revenue. Local revenue is also based on the District's assessed valuation (Real and Personal Property in the District).
When was the last time Fort Osage's operating levy increased?
The last voter approved operating levy increase occurred in 2004. Since that time there have been many changes that have negatively impacted funding.
Why is Fort Osage requesting an increase to its operating levy?
Since 2010 Fort Osage School District has faced $23 million in lost revenue. This includes lost funding from local revenue due to declining property values and withholdings from the state.
What has Fort Osage done to reduce its expenditures?
Fort Osage has made over $19 million in budget cuts since 2010. Reductions included but are not limited to the following:
How much does Fort Osage have in its fund balance?
A fund balance is similar to someone's personal saving account. Fort Osage's fund balance has reduced from over 31% in 2012 to 21% in 2016. The fund balance is projected to decrease to 18% to end FY 2017. Ultimately, due to continued revenue withholdings Fort Osage is spending its savings account to pay general operating costs.
Beyond the operating levy, local revenue is also based on assessed valuation. What is assessed valuation?
A school district's assessed valuation is the total value of the district residentsâ€™ real and personal property (houses, cars, boats, trailers, businesses, etc.)
How does Fort Osage's assessed valuation compare to area districts?
The chart below shows the area districtâ€™s assessed valuation and their enrollment. Notice that Fort Osage has the lowest assessed valuation even when compared to school districts with fewer students. As previously mentioned this is important because local revenue is based partly on a district's assessed valuation.
What is Fort Osage asking for?
Fort Osage is asking for a 67 cent operating levy increase. The increase would generate approximately $1,825,000 annually based on the current assessed valuation. This would cost the average tax payer $3.97 per week. If you would like a handout of how much this would cost you please contact Stephanie Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How would Fort Osage's operating levy compare to area districts after the increase?
Fort Osage's current operating levy is $4.42. After a 67 cent increase the levy would be $5.09. The chart below shows the area district's maximum voter approved operating levy. Notice with a 67 cent increase Fort Osage would still remain on the bottom half of the area districts.
How would the increased operating levy impact Fort Osage?
The increased operating levy would help maintain the level of programming Fort Osage has offered. Fort Osage wants to continue to recruit and retain quality staff as well as address increased operating costs like health insurance, utility costs, and property insurance to name a few.
Will the increased operating levy allow Fort Osage to 'loosen its financial belt'?
With ongoing state withholdings Fort Osage must continue to be fiscally responsible. We will continue to evaluate expenditures and attempt to balance the budget with the levy increase.
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Give Away prizes are not purchased with District funds. Only Fort Osage employees are eligible to enter the drawing.