Swanton Local Schools voters will decide next week whether to approve a substitute levy that would mean no increase in taxes on current property. The five-year, 3.4-mill substitute levy would replace an emergency levy that originally passed at 6.96 mills and is now collected at 3.73 mills.
“I believe the most important thing for everyone to understand is that for current homeowners their tax burden will not increase if this levy passes,” said Superintendent Chris Lake. “This levy is meant to substitute the emergency levy which was first passed by voters in 1996, and it has been re-approved every time since then.”
He added that it is also important for people to know that this levy will only run for five years after which it will be put back in front of the voters.
“Because this is a substitute levy it will allow for revenue growth on new construction only. We are projecting very modest growth on new construction, but our hope is this will help us to avoid having to put a levy on the ballot seeking new money,” said Lake. “We are very conscious of working to live within our means here at Swanton.”
The first year of the substitute levy generates the same dollar amount as the emergency levy. Beginning the second year, the substitute levy will have incremental increases based on the new homes, new commercial buildings or additions to existing properties added to the school district.
“The passage of the levy is critical for the district, as the $825,000 a year raised for the district represents 5.5% of our yearly revenue,” said Lake. “As with all operating funds, this money is crucial for the district so that we can continue to offer quality programs and opportunities for our students.”
If the levy is not approved it would need to be put back on the ballot. “The loss of $825,000 a year in revenue would require very deep cuts and this would have a detrimental impact on the programs and educational opportunities that Swanton is able to offer its students,” Lake said.
Area districts such as Pike-Delta-York and Wauseon are among those in the state that have passed substitute levies in recent years.
The superintendent expressed his gratitude for support that Swanton Local School District voters have shown in the past.
“They have regularly renewed our income tax levy and the emergency levy, which we are seeking to replace with this substitute levy. They have been generous supporters of our students, our athletic programs and our efforts to provide Swanton students with the best education possible. This is a tremendous community, and I am proud to have been able to raise my children here for the last 20 years. The Bulldogs are proud to be from Swanton and we hope that Swanton is proud to be the home of the Bulldogs.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010