Property owners in the Oldham-Ramona School District may be paying less in school-related property taxes moving forward.
On Monday night, school board members voted to pay off the capital outlay certificates issued to build the addition in 2012. This will enable the district to save $35,000, according to school Superintendent Michael Fischer.
"That eliminates the debt we have. That's pretty exciting," he said.
When the addition was approved, $1,020,000 in capital outlay certificates was issued. The current payoff on this is $597,582.22.
Fischer explained the district can pay this off because a previous school board made the decision to build a strong capital outlay fund, knowing the legislature had plans to change the way local school districts could levy taxes related to capital outlay. In addition, school boards since then have been judicious in their spending.
"Over the years, we continued to build up our capital outlay fund," he said.
In the past, taxes related to capital outlay were based solely on property valuations. School districts that covered a larger geographical area or had higher property values had an advantage over those that were smaller or had lower property values.
With the change, which went into effect this year, the tax levy is based on student enrollment. School districts can levy up to $3,400 per student.
"The board can request less," Fischer emphasized.
Prior to making the decision on Monday night, the school district had over $2 million in its capital outlay account. In paying off the capital outlay certificates, the district will still have around $1.4 million, according to Fischer.
"We still have money in there going forward," he stated. "We feel we can tackle what we need."
This is important because there have been some concerns about the school building, which is nearly 100 years old. In recent years, the building has been inspected annually by a structural engineer.
In 2017, the building was reinforced with steel columns and beams. Although Fischer didn't take over as superintendent until after this decision was made, he believes this was necessary to take some pressure off the bricks and mortar. At present, he is not aware of any structural concerns that need to be addressed.
"There's nothing on the plate that needs to be done to keep the building open," Fischer said, having spoken to the company which conducted the inspection this year.
He did note that he has not yet received the final report from the company. Fischer notified the board on Monday night that the company does not wish to continue conducting the inspections.
The district will seek another company to continue the inspections. The goal is to keep the structure safe for students to use, according to Fischer.