An election guide published by The Advertiser-Tribune Nov. 4, 1977 - just before Tiffin City Schools' permanent improvement levy first was approved - stated what then was a 2-mill levy was expected to generate $294,000 annually.
Back then, the district's buildings were valued at about $16 million; the newest building, Columbian High School, contained students born when it was being built.
Now, the buildings are valued at more than $50 million, with Tiffin Middle School being the only new building. Columbian now is more than 50 years old.
The permanent improvement levy was cut in half when first renewed in 1982, and raised about $200,000. Now, that same 1-mill levy is expected to generate about $210,000 - or $84,485 in 1982 dollars.
In 1977, The A-T endorsed passage of the levy, stating "our children's education will suffer if we reject the school levy. The buildings they spend most of each waking day in will deteriorate around them. We believe our children and our schools deserve better. ..."
The newspaper supported its renewal in 1982, stating, "The beauty of the permanent improvement levy is found in its separation from the school operating budget. Major physical improvements can be scheduled and achieved without a leeching of funds to solve crises in other spending areas."
Of course, the corollary is true; with the permanent improvement levy, building needs can be kept from cannibalizing operational funds.
The need remains. The millage is the same. The cost hasn't changed. We urge voters in the Tiffin City School District to renew the 1-mill permanent improvement levy.