5039775621_4a7c4ae47fIt’s that time of year, school levies. Throughout the nation, cash-strapped schools are begging their community for more support and in many parts of America, communities are not ponying up for their schools. My home is located in West Chester, OH – which is home to Lakota High School, one of the better school districts available in the Cincinnati, OH region. Before the recession started, Lakota found no problems with funding large projects, increasing teachers, and building larger buildings, but after the recession – things became desperate.

First it started with threats.

If you don’t vote for the levy – the school will drop bus routes to the minimum and cut activities and sports.
Teachers will lose their jobs and the ratio of student per teacher will sky-rocket!

Then came the insults.
If you don’t vote for the levy – Your home will be worth a lot less because the school district will score lower. You would be stupid not to vote for it.

Then came the logical appeal.
It will only cost you $<x> per $100,000 of home appraisal!

So when should you vote for or against a levy?
Sadly its virtually impossible to tell when you actually should or should not. It’s a pretty hard balancing act between high taxes and good schools.

I would say if you support your children’s school system – then you probably should pony up the cash and back it up.

But what about homeowners without children, like myself? A balancing act of allowing your school to have a bottomless pit of money and possibly hurting your property value by allowing the school to decline.

The facts presented to you are usually too vague to make an educated decision because they tend to be extremely bias on both sides of the debate. The local levy has failed enough times that if it continues to fail – the city of West Chester, OH might be a poor choice for education versus other options such as their local rival of Mason, OH.

$145.47 per $100,000 of value on a home – Approximately $240 a year or $20 a month. It’s painful for me to cough up an extra $240 a year. I also hope that my taxes don’t get so high as to turn off a potential buyer, another balancing act to perform as a homeowner and voter.

Last year the levy failed 53.45% to 46.55% (6.9% margin). Funny thing about that the 2010 levy is that if the levy was decided on the number of “for” and “against” signs in property owners yards – it would have passed about 95% to 5%. People who tend to vote “against” tend not to be as vocal. A lot of people who are vocally “for” a measure will surprisingly wimp out when it comes time to vote and pay the bill.

I’ve got skin in the game. I’m doubtful that this levy will pass. Oh the joys of homeownership.

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