Dear Ram Community,
Our latest town hall on June 13th was a huge success! We were joined by close to fifty residents with many more watching our live stream online. If you missed the town hall and would like to see what was discussed, you can watch the video by clicking here http://www.rossrams.com/ and scrolling to the bottom of the page.
We presented two financial options when it comes to a levy being placed on the ballot this November. Option A is focused on using earned income tax for future funding, while option B is centered around a property tax increase.
Throughout the town hall we fielded some great questions. We have included those questions below with the corresponding answer to each. It remains a focus of ours to provide you with as much information as possible. The Board of Education will be making a final decision on these two funding options on July 16, 2018. We will be hosting one more town hall on June 27th to answer any questions regarding this decision. This will be a TeleTown Hall meeting so have your phones handy!
Is the strategic plan publicly available? What does the long term strategic plan look like?
The RLSD Strategic Plan will be publically available by August 1st. The plan includes vision, mission, and belief statements, as well as the critical areas of focus necessary to meet achieve the vision outlined by the plan.
We currently pay out of income tax and property tax—how will these two options effect what is currently in place?
The Income Tax or the Property would be in addition to the taxes currently in place.
When does the current property tax that is already in place expire?
All current property tax levies for the District are continuing, they have no expiration. The Bond expires in December of 2028.
What are the options as it pertains to implementing all day kindergarten?
We have had cursory discussions about all day Kindergarten in the future but it has not been factored into the current request for additional revenue. With that being said, it is not out of realm of possibility for the future. The biggest hurdle right now is space. We'd have to analyze where grade levels land since we'd have to open up additional space at each elementary. There is also a staffing component to this with regards to additional Kindergarten teachers and support staff. The last district I was in, we went through the process of adding all day Kindergarten so I know the pros, cons and bumps in moving forward. Becky Tompkins stated the obvious curriculum positives for having students all day in Kindergarten.
We will place this into the options for future discussions as we move forward in this process.
What can legislators in Columbus and elected officials locally do to help with the schools financial situation?
We need to reach out to our elected officials on a more consistent basis regarding school issues including finance. As a district we/I need to do a better job of communicating to them throughout the year and not just during budget revision time. We will place the names of our elected officials on our website so that all community members have their information.
What are the specifics when it comes to transportation in the district?
The current cost for High School busing is $58,236 per year. Currently there are 375 High School students utilizing the service with the shuttle stops. We are compiling the costs for the district to go from shuttle stops for the high school to general full routes. That information will be shared when it is available.
What does the “cap” on a property tax increase mean?
Since 1976 with the implementation of House Bill 920 the taxes levied cannot exceed the dollar amount of the original voted levy. In other words, as property values increase, the taxes charged may not be increased. The millage multiplied by the new value must be reduced so that the dollars received by the District are equal to the dollar amount generated by the original voted mills. This is the cap on the amount the District can receive.
What would the outcome for the school district look like if we used financial option A versus option B?
The outcome would be the same as we would receive the same dollars initially for each. However, the potential for growth is greater with the Income Tax long term.
How are you going to address students with special needs and students who have difficulty fitting in?
As a district, we want to all students to have a positive experience in Ross in their home school. We will be offering professional development to staff members who work with students with special needs and who have difficulty fitting in. We are completing a mental health audit in the district in order to connect more specifically with providers who can support our specific needs in the district. One of the major areas of focus for our strategic plan is social and emotional wellness.
Finally, if you would like a Rally for Ross Sign, please stop by the Administration Building to pick one up.
Have a great day,
Scott Gates, Superintendent