Voters across region will see school levies on November ballot

·5 min read

Aug. 13—Voters in 12 area school districts across the region should expect a tax levy on their ballot in the November election.

Kettering City Schools and Kings Local Schools in Warren County are the only two area districts asking for additional funding this year.

Many of the issues are renewal levies, meaning they were passed previously, and the school district has been using them for ongoing expenses. Some are substitute levies, when a district replaces existing levies up for renewal with a new levy for the same amount of money.

But district leaders still say it's important to turn out for elections like these, because the districts rely on funds to do the basic functions of schools, such as paying teachers and electric bills.

Kettering City Schools

The district is asking Kettering voters for a 5.99-mill additional levy that would be continuous, meaning it would not need to be renewed by voters again.

The levy would cost $209.65 annually to a person with a home valued at $100,000 and would bring in approximately $8.7 million per year.

Cary Furniss, Kettering Schools treasurer, said the additional money is needed because the district is facing higher expenses and lower revenue for the 2022-2023 school year. After that, revenue is predicted to bounce back to $106 million in 2023-24.

Furniss said the district will have spent the $18.3 million the district received in federal COVID-19 dollars by the end of the year, so it's not available to help with the shortfall. The district spent the money up front on technology, cleaning supplies and protective gear.

He noted that about 80% of the district's funding comes from local income tax, so even with the planned changes to the way the state funds schools, which are expected to help Kettering, that wouldn't make up the difference in the short term.

"For us to be able to keep up with rising costs, as has been the case for about the last 40 years, every three to four, sometimes five years, the district is in a position of needing an operating levy," Furniss said. "In 2018, that was the last time the district asked the community for new money."

Kings Local Schools

The Kings school district is seeking an additional, continuing 6.4-mill tax levy that will generate more than $7.53 million annually for current operational expenses. This will cost a property owner an additional $224 per $100,000 of valuation.

District officials said the new state school funding is inadequate and a primary reason for seeking more local school tax support.

"We have a revenue problem, not a spending problem," said Kings treasurer Mike Morrow.

Miamisburg City Schools

Miamisburg plans to replace two existing levies with a $14 million substitute levy. Miamisburg schools treasurer John Espy said the substitute levy would not raise taxes on anyone already paying schools tax.

The levy is a continuous levy, meaning it will continue into perpetuity, and voters won't vote on it again. The annual cost per $100,000 of home value is about $452, according to the Montgomery County Auditor's Office.

The levy would replace an 8.65-mill, five-year emergency renewal levy approved in 2017 that will expire in 2023 and a five-year, 8.3-mill substitute levy approved in 2019 that will expire in 2025.

Other renewals: — Xenia schools are asking for a renewal of a seven-year levy that generates $7.60 million annually. The ballot is listed as an "emergency" on the ballot, but the term in Ohio is just a name for a levy that raises a fixed sum per year for the jurisdiction's regular operations. — Oakwood is asking taxpayers to renew 1.8-mill levy costing taxpayers approximately $44.49 annually per $100,000 in property value for five years. It is meant to go towards permanent improvement and brings in about $534,159 annually. — Franklin Schools is requesting a 13.93-mill substitute levy for current expenses, bringing in about $7.75 million per year over five years. The cost is $465.91 annually per $100,000 in home property value. — Lebanon Schools is requesting a 10-year, 9.64-mill substitute levy bringing in about $12.2 million per year. The cost is $318.52 annually for each $100,000 in home value. — New Lebanon Schools has two renewal levies on the ballot, for current expenses and permanent improvements. One, a 2.8-mill levy, costs $71.76 annually per $100,000 in home value, and brings in about $265,665. The other, a 7-mill levy, costs $179.39 annually per $100,000 in home value and brings in about $664,164, according to the Montgomery County Auditor's Office. — Milton Union is requesting a renewal of a 10.9-mill levy bringing in about $1.9 million annually. It costs $261.71 per year per each $100,000 in property valuation. — Tri County North Schools in Preble County are requesting a 10-year emergency levy, which is a renewal of an existing levy that goes towards operating costs. It brings in about $618,000 per year and costs $150.50 per year per $100,000 of property valuation. — Cedar Cliff is requesting a renewal levy worth $254,000 per year. It is a 3-mill levy that would last five years and cost $63.21 per $100,000 in property value annually.