Renew levy and #preserveexcellence

To the Editor:

In November 2015, my wife and I moved our family, which includes four school-age children, from Japan where I worked for the US Air Force to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We had never lived in Ohio before, but with our Air Force moves our children have attended schools in Colorado, Texas and Department of Defense schools overseas. With most of these school districts, we knew we would only be attending for three to four years. However, moving to Ohio with one child in high school, we knew this move needed to be a longer-term situation. From half a world away, we began our house-hunting with excellent schools as the primary priority. We talked to many people previously stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB and read several military-related social media groups which all mentioned one thing: Tipp City Schools were excellent.

Our research narrowed the search to three school districts where we were willing to buy a home. Obviously, Tipp City Schools was one of those three. We did look at homes with a lower price tag in other school districts but the desire to have our children in better schools kept bringing us back to Tipp City.

We have all heard the saying “You get what you pay for,” and obviously funding is a major determinant in the quality of a school district. Funding drives the quality and number of teachers a district can attract, the number of students per classroom, the quality of facilities, programs offered, etc. So when I heard that the Tipp City Schools needed voters to renew a levy that accounts for nearly 25 percent of their operating budget, I wanted to get involved to preserve the excellence that had led my family to purchase our home in Tipp City in 2015.

This is my experience and is one anecdote. But a 2013 survey by The National Association of Realtors indicates my family’s criteria for purchasing a home is not unique. Per this survey 29 percent of home buyers listed school quality as a deciding factor in their decision. Further, 1 in 5 buyers were prepared to give up a garage or bedroom for a better school, 1 in 3 would settle for a smaller home, and over half would drive further for shopping if it meant attending excellent schools.

Beyond sacrificing square footage or shopping in their home purchase, buyers were willing to pay more money for a home in a good school district. One out of five of those surveyed said they would pay between 6 and 10 percent more for a home — and one out of ten people surveyed stated that they’d go even higher, paying up to 20 percent more for a home with access to the right schools.

The final data point from this survey is that an overwhelming 91 percent of buyers considered school boundaries in their home buying decision, even when these buyers did not have or plan to have school-age children. This fact shows that my experience is more than an anecdote or an outlier; excellent schools are not mere educational institutions but are a part of the overall value of the homes located in that school district.

Again, drawing from my personal experience, we found homes in nearby school districts that would have more comfortably fit under our budget, given us more square footage or other amenities. However, when we factored in the quality of schools we were willing to spend more money to ensure our children were attending excellent schools. I encourage the community to maintain the excellent schools that were so attractive to us from half a world away by renewing the upcoming school levy.

The tagline for the current effort to renew the Tipp City school levy is #preserveexcellence, referring to the excellent teachers, staff, administration, students, parents, and traditions of Tipp City Schools. For homeowners in Tipp City this tagline could also be #preservehomevalues.

— Bryce and Alicia Barton

Tipp City