School Finance Basics & Terminology

What Is a Mill?
What exactly is a mill? In short, a mill is one-tenth of a penny. One mill produces $1 in tax income for every $1,000 of assessed property value it is applied against. “Millage” is the unit of value for expressing the rate of property taxes in Ohio.

The longer explanation begins with the distinction between appraised value and assessed value of your property. The appraised value is the "real value" of your property; or what the property would sell for in the open market. The county auditor has the task of appraising all taxable property in the county. Assessed value is the value of the property that millage rates are applied to. In Ohio, the assessed value of property is set at 35% of appraised value. For example, if a home is appraised at $100,000 it is taxed at the assessed value of $35,000 ($100,000 x .35).

To carry this example further, on your $100,000 home, one mill would produce $35 of tax income ($35,000 x .001).

However it does not end there. Through the years the state of Ohio has enacted various credits that reduce the amount property owners pay for real estate taxes. A 10% rollback directly reduces a homeowner’s tax bill by 10%. The Homestead Exemption enacted in 1979 increases the rollback by an additional 2.5% if the owner lives in the taxable property. For our example these credits would reduce the tax bill by $4.38 to $30.62. These credits do not represent lost revenues for Anthony Wayne Schools as the state picks up your savings and reimburses the school for them.

Questions concerning millage, appraised value, assessed value or how individual property taxes are calculated, contact the county auditor and county treasurer.

Other Important Terms

Voted Millage – amount of mills approved by voters

Effective Millage – actual mills being collected as tax revenue

Operating Levy – property tax revenue used for a school district for operating funding. A continuing levy imposes a tax that a school district will collect forever unless revoked by voters. A limited levy or emergency levy imposes a tax that a school district will collect for a specified term – usually one to five years.

Permanent Improvement Levy – property tax revenue used by a school district to fund projects and purchases with an expected useful life of at least five years

Bond Issue or Bond Levy – property tax levies used exclusively to provide revenue for construction

Emergency Levy – property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum five years) proposed for a specific dollar amount. Because the dollar amount of taxes charged by the levy must stay constant, the millage rate increases or decreases as property values change. Emergency levies can be renewed for the dollar amount originally requested.

School District Income Tax – a percentage rate tax on residents’ incomes as reported for state income tax purposes. Income tax can be used to fund either operating expenses or permanent improvements.

Expiration of Limited Levy – when a limited or emergency levy expires, the Board of Education can choose to renew the levy or replace the levy.

Renewal Levy – Renewal levies must be for the same purpose and must be renewed at the effective millage rate. (For example: a five-mill, five-year levy that has been reduced to 3.8 mills due to increased school district valuation would be renewed at the 3.8 mill rate.) A renewal levy can be combined with additional millage.

Replacement Levy – This type of levy has the same purpose as a renewal, but replaces the previous levy and is imposed at the original millage rate of the levy it replaces. This allows a school district to benefit from any growth in local value that has occurred over the life of the original levy. (For example: a five-mill, five-year levy would be renewed for five mills.) This type of levy cannot be used for an emergency levy and cannot be combined with other changes in millage.

FREQUENTLY ASKED FINANCIAL QUESTIONS

How are schools funded in Ohio?
Why do schools keep asking for more money?
How do schools raise additional funds?
How is a property tax bill calculated?
What do the Bucyrus City Schools do to control costs?
How are the Bucyrus City Schools’ Books Audited?

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