Franklin schools ask voters to pass substitute levy

Franklin City Schools is asking voters to continue their support by voting for Issue 2, a 15.89 mill, five-year substitute levy which renews two emergency levies that voters have previously approved. The district has used the levy funding to improve curriculum, increase safety and security of the buildings including the hiring of a full-time SRO, and the expansion of technology. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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Franklin City Schools is asking voters to continue their support by voting for Issue 2, a 15.89 mill, five-year substitute levy which renews two emergency levies that voters have previously approved. The district has used the levy funding to improve curriculum, increase safety and security of the buildings including the hiring of a full-time SRO, and the expansion of technology. STAFF FILE PHOTO

As two levies are slated to expire within a year of each other, the Franklin Board of Education is asking voters to combine those levies for a five-year period with no increase in taxes.

On the Nov. 6 general election ballot, Issue 2 is a five-year, 15.89-mill substitute levy that combines a five-year, 8.88-mill emergency operating levy and a five-year, 7.92-mill emergency operating levy into a single levy that will generate the same amount of money the two current levies generate for the school district.

According to the Warren County Auditor’s Office, the certified millage for the proposed substitute levy is 0.91-mill less and has said that after property re-valuations are completed, that millage may go down to about 1 mill and still generate the fixed amount of nearly $7.18 million.

County Auditor Matt Nolan said the owner of a property valued at $100,000 would still pay about $528.28, which is what they currently pay for two levies.

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In addition, passage of the substitute levy will enable property owners to retain a portion of the 12.5 percent homestead exemption rollback on close to 8 mills of the proposed levy. Nolan said unlike an emergency levy, another benefit of the substitute levy is that the school district will be able to see additional revenue only with new construction in the district. However, that will not change the tax rate.

“It looks bigger than levies in the past, but it’s not,” said Libby Aldridge, who is co-chairing the levy campaign with her husband, Michael, a Franklin city councilman. “There is no increase in taxes and it will eliminate another levy next year.”

Aldridge also said this “is not a perpetual levy,” as district officials feel strongly about keeping its promises to the taxpayers and continue to be accountable.

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She said the district has kept its promises to the taxpayers to keep its buildings functional and safe which includes the numerous safety upgrades such as the construction of safety vestibules, installing security camera systems, and the addition of a full-time school resource officer.

She said the district moving to a more technology-based learning created the savings in the budget to afford the new school resource officer and security upgrades.

“A good school system is important to the community whether you have kids in school or not,” Aldridge said.