TPS levy: thoughts and analysis

This in from Steven Flagg of the Urban Coalition .
Tomorrow, February 4, 2010, the Toledo Board of Education meets in a special board meeting to, most likely, pass a resolution putting a levy on the May 4th primary election ballot.

The Ohio Revised Code requires the board of education to act by resolution within 75 days (Feb. 18th) of the election to place an operating levy before the voters. If the board determines it to be an emergency levy, the resolution must be adopted within 80 day (Feb. 13th). If TPS were to ask for an income tax, the board must act by resolution at least 85 days (Feb. 8th) before the primary election.

As you can see, the Feb. 4th special meeting provides the TPS board time to act upon either a regular or emergency operating levy or an income tax.

From materials obtained from TPS (see attachment), it appears that each one mil of a new property tax would generate about $2.8 million in tax collections. With the current TPS deficit now estimated at about $30 million for next year, any new levy would need to be at least 11 mils to provide the funds to continue district operations and cost structures as they have in the past.

It also appears from the documentation that TPS is looking at a 9 mil levy which will generate about $25 million each year that it is in effect. The documentation also shows 5.5 years of revenue, so it is difficult to determine the length of any new levy.

It would appear that the TPS administration has recommended a 9 mil levy.What the TPS board supports will be interesting. But most of the time the board has supported the administration's proposals.

What has not been discussed to date is that TPS has a 2.5 mil capital improvement levy that expires on Dec. 31, 2010. If collections on this levy are to continue, a renewal or replacement levy must be passed before year end.

State law now allows for what is called a dual purpose levy. This is a combination of a permanent improvement or bond issue with an operating levy. It is possible that TPS will propose a dual purpose levy at some point, although it does not appear that this type of levy will be proposed for the May 4th special election.

Additionally, Board President Vasquez said on January 19, 2010 that a board committee will be established to find ways to cut costs as a condition for asking voters to approve a new levy. As of this date, the formation of a committee has not been announced and no meetings are known to have happened. Of course, this all could be happening behind close doors as the TPS board at their regular January meeting discussed having the committee chaired by one board member to avoid having public meetings of this committee. Why private meetings as compared to what Mayor Bell is doing with his "CIS" committee?

With the knowledge and understanding of TPS and my long history of ferreting out cost cutting ideas and making recommendations to the administration and board, I asked President Vasquez last week to appoint me and others with a critical eye to any cost cutting committee which was established. As of today, there has been no response.

So what is the status of the committee? Will it meet in time to offer meaningful ideas? Will it be diverse and represent the board interests of the Toledo community? Or is it just more public relations fodder?


No votes yet

At this meeting held Thursday morning, Feb. 2nd, the Board passed a resolution of necessity that is the first step in certifying a levy for the ballot. Once the Board decides on the type of levy, the board will take another vote which is expected to come next Monday or Tuesday.

The Board is considering two options - either a .75% payroll tax or a 6.99 mil property tax levy. The term was not mentioned but it appears they may be continuing or permanent levies. Meaning once passed there would need to be a repeal effort to remove the tax.

Both approaches will require about $15 million in spending cuts per the TPS treasurer.

I'll post more as it becomes available.

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