As I see it, Troy is a great place to live, work, and learn. It is clear that there is significant need for Troy City Schools, and that’s why I’m writing this. There is a 1.1-mill Permanent Improvement Renewal Levy on the ballot Nov. 6. Our school facilities are quite old and require maintenance, and that is why we need voters to say “Yes.”
As the new superintendent for Troy City Schools, it has been an honor and a pleasure to become a part of the Trojan family. My wife, my children, and I have appreciated the warm welcome we’ve received in our school district and in our community. The sense of pride and level of commitment to our young people and their education is evident. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with many people and learn about the close connections among the school district, community members, local government, and business partners.
There are several things that I take very seriously as the superintendent and being responsible with taxpayer dollars is high on the list. I pay taxes here too and like you, I want assurances that money is being used wisely. After examining our district financial forecast, department budgets and maintenance plans, I am confident that the district has both planned and spent wisely over the last several years. That will continue under my leadership.
The issue before voters on Nov. 6 is a Permanent Improvement Renewal Levy. This levy will not increase taxes. As a renewal, it is already a part of our local property tax and it currently costs property owners $30.28 annually for every $100,000 of valuation.
The levy is for permanent improvements. This means that the dollars raised from this levy can only be used to repair, replace, and maintain our facilities and equipment. It cannot be used to pay salaries or benefits.
The levy was first passed in 1984 and has been renewed six times. It was initially passed because it was needed to help maintain our facilities. That need is even greater today because our facilities are quite old. Our newest building, Troy Junior High School, is 45 years old. Van Cleve, our sixth grade building, is our oldest, built in 1914.
The Permanent Improvement Renewal Levy generates approximately $714,000 annually for Troy City Schools and while it doesn’t cover our annual capital improvement costs, it does help considerably. If our district didn’t have this levy we would be forced to divert general fund dollars that currently support student programs.
I’ve recently been asked if this levy would still be needed if we built new buildings. The answer to that is yes for several reasons. First, there is currently no bond issue before the voters following the defeat of one last November. The need for new buildings has not gone away and while there are ongoing discussions about a potential bond issue, there is no current timeline. Any new buildings would be built toward the end of this five-year levy renewal, giving voters the opportunity to reconsider it at that time. Secondly, any new building plans would likely not include the Junior High or High School buildings, athletic facilities, school buses, technology needs, and many other areas. This means that we will continue to have a need for this money, even with the construction of new buildings.
I am asking voters to say “Yes” on Nov. 6 so we can continue to maintain our facilities. I encourage anyone with questions to visit our website for more information or contact me directly at email@example.com or (937) 332-6700.
Chris Piper is the superintendent of Troy City Schools. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org