The majority of funding for the Beachwood City School District is derived from local property taxes, with 83 percent of its funding from property-related taxes. Operating levies are property tax issues that are placed on the ballot (in terms of millage rates) for a vote by the electorate. Operating levies pay for the day-to-day expenditures of a school district, which include salaries, benefits, utilities, books, supplies and equipment.
The district passed its last operating levy of 5.9 mills in 2005 and will ask the voters to approve an additional 5.9 mill operating levy in May 2018. The 13 years between operating levies is our district’s longest time off the ballot for an operating levy since 1972. Recently, the State of Ohio passed a budget bill which will eliminate $2.5 million annually in state funding to Beachwood, 50% of our total. The State of Ohio continues to cost shift to local taxpayers. We can no longer avoid seeking additional operating funds.
In addition to state funding losses, the district is also faced with the rising cost of charter/online, autism and John Peterson scholarship funding which follows Beachwood residents to non-public schools. This is state law. The district serves all of its children even if they do not attend the public schools. The district has no control over these costs which continue to rise exponentially. The state contends that public schools have property taxes at their disposal and therefore do not qualify for the same level of funding as private, online, and charter schools.
The district continues to benchmark not only academic successes but also financial and levy indicators. The accompanying chart compares neighboring districts operating levies since 2005.
The district, under the direction of Dr. Hardis, has continued to reduce personnel costs, increased operating efficiencies; and reviewed all programs for efficacy. While reducing costs, the district has expanded programming to students that include curricular and technology opportunities. The district has reached out to establish strategic partnerships with University Hospitals/Ahuja Medical Center and with Cleveland State University.
Beachwood Schools is the beneficiary of thoughtful community planning with a robust commercial tax base. It also has a supportive constituency that values education. While "shared services" is the buzz word at the state level, our community has been sharing services for decades through consortium programs, shared facilities and field usage.
Beachwood schools have been responsible fiscal stewards of its public funds by continuing to plan for the future, cutting costs and achieving efficiencies at every opportunity while continuing to expand programming for students. We appreciate the continued support of the community and are fortunate that Beachwood continues to value education and the students we serve.