Six Year Property Revaluations for Lake County Coming Soon


Hello. Thank you for taking the time to read our ComMentor newsletter to be informed about Mentor Public Schools. As Chief Financial Officer, it is important to me to give full transparency about the district’s finances as we work to provide the high quality education the children of our community need in a fiscally prudent manner. Every month, I publicly share a financial report with the Mentor Board of Education and that information is also posted on our website to be viewed by community members at any time. Quarterly, I meet with our Citizens Financial Advisory Committee, which is a board-appointed group to bring a business perspective to the oversight of the fiscal management of the school district. Recently, I presented our May Five-Year Fiscal Projections and encourage you to watch it to learn more. 

In Mentor, our public school district is funded primarily through local property taxes and we are fortunate to have a strong business community along with our residents contributing to our schools. Still, our revenue stays relatively flat while costs continue to rise. This contributes to deficit spending and the need for the district to pursue additional revenue sources, like new levies. However, it’s important to note, asking taxpayers for new money comes as a last resort as we work diligently to control costs and seek alternative revenue. For example, we’ve implemented a variety of cost-saving initiatives in recent years, including reducing staff proportionally with student enrollment, redistricting, closing and consolidating school buildings, cutting budgets, creating shared and support service agreements for revenue, securing grant funding sources, working with our employee bargaining units to control health care costs, and more.   

In this article, I am focusing on how property taxes contribute to our revenue because the Lake County Auditor’s office is currently conducting its Sexenial Revaluation process, as required by Ohio law.  So, if you are a property owner in Lake County, you will receive notice of a new valuation of that property in July. We’ve been in contact with Auditor Christopher Galloway, who expects owners will see a double-digit percentage increase in valuation, on average, across the county. This new value of your home, does not mean you will see a proportionate rise in your tax bill, due to tax laws in place designed to protect property owners. It’s not a dollar for dollar conversion. And this means, our school district will not see a proportionate increase in tax collection, either – so our revenue will essentially stay relatively flat. 

Chart about millage

There’s a reduction factor mandated by law to protect taxpayers from inflationary growth, which is commonly known as House Bill 920. In Mentor Schools, most of our funding sources are fixed rate levies that see limited growth from the amount that was originally passed and effective rates are adjusted so collections are shared across the community as property values fluctuate, because our district is not at the 20 mill floor. Mentor Schools also currently receives 4.8 mills of inside millage. As shown in the chart, fixed rate levies and inside millage are included in the 20 mill floor. Not included in the 20 mill floor are fixed sum levies. Examples of our district’s fixed sum levies are our Permanent Improvement (PI) levy that first passed in 1988 and generates about $1 million a year. Today, that PI levy generates the same amount of money as it did back then. The same is true for the renewal emergency operating levy the community passed in November, which secured the continuation of about $15 million a year in funding for Mentor Schools for the next ten years. When your property value goes up, you do not pay more on those types of levies.

Information about levies

Where the district will see an increase in tax revenue due to property revaluation is on the inside millage and we are projecting this could bring in a 2.3% increase in revenue for the district– nowhere near the average valuation increase we’re expecting.  To make this projection for the district, I based my calculation assuming a 30% average increase in property values, which for Mentor Schools taxpayers could equate to about $50 per $100,000 evaluation per year going to the schools. But again, that is an estimate based on projections and you have to keep in mind each property is assessed individually. So while your property value may go up 30%, your friend across town might see a 20% increase. It is also possible some properties wouldn’t see an increase at all, or in rare instances, even a decrease. My projections are based on an educated estimate of what we’re expecting is possible across the district’s boundaries, averaged. The new valuation you will receive as a property owner in July will be the appraised value of your property, but you only pay taxes on your assessed value (which is 35% of appraised value). Your first tax bill based on your new property valuation will come in January 2025.  

You may hear that other Lake County school districts could see a bigger increase in tax revenue than what I’m describing for Mentor and that would be if the district reaches the state minimum millage floor, known as the 20 mill floor, which is based on each district’s inside and outside fixed rate millage. Again, Mentor Schools is not at the “floor”, so our outside fixed rate levies will be adjusted downward to offset inflationary valuation growth– keeping our tax collections relatively flat, as I described above. It’s also worth noting that Mentor Schools has only passed new money one time (in 2016) since 2004.

If you think about how other local entities are funded through different types of taxes, like income or sales tax, when those taxes experience growth, the entities they fund see that same growth, too. Funding for Mentor Schools is unique in that there is not a lot of space for growth without asking the community for new monies. Our Board of Education, Superintendent and I are committed to transparent, honest and accurate fiscal management of the community’s money being used to provide educational opportunities for the children we serve each day. I would encourage you to take a look at our website to learn more about the finances of Mentor Schools. Thank you for your continued support and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. -Bill Wade, CFO


Inside Millage: Inside millage is levied under the 10 mill limitation in the constitution. Such millages are enacted without popular vote and are not subject to tax reduction factors, like HB920. 

Outside Millage: Outside millage are additional funds levied that can only be added with the voted approval of taxpayers. 

20 Mill Floor: A school district with at least 20 mills of current expense tax levies may not have its effective tax rate reduced below 20 mills, per Ohio law. Once the effective tax rate reaches 20 mills no further reductions or effective rates are made, allowing such districts to receive the full impact of increases in taxable values on those mills.


Link to CFO Section of our website