School Levies

The Greenon Local School District, a rural district in Clark County, will have two tax issues on the Nov. 4 ballot. School officials believe severe cuts to programs will have to be made if the voters reject the levies.

One of the issues is a renewal of an existing property tax levy that voters approved in 2010.

The second issue asks voters for new money. The 4.96-mill levy would generate over $1.2 million a year for operations for the next five years.

Preliminary results are in from school levies on the May 6 ballot across the Miami Valley and in a low turn-out primary election, just a handful of people made some of these decisions.

The Brookville school district is one of several with new or increased levies on the ballot for next Tuesday, May 6, 2014. This will be the third time in a row this tiny school district northwest of Dayton has tried to get an increase; in May 2013, the levy lost by two votes, and in November, it failed by 44 out of 2,642 total votes.

Michelle Landis has two kids in the schools and heads the levy committee—and she says it’s all about turnout.

Huber Heights has seen tax revenues decline since the Recession.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Huber Heights has announced plans to seek an income tax increase on the November 2014 ballot; the city is predicting budget shortfalls of $2.3 million per year.

“We’ve been using reserves for the past five or six years to provide the services we have out there today, and we’ve come to a crossroads,” says Scott Falkowski, Huber Heights Assistant City Manager.

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Most ballot issues and candidates have been confirmed for the May 6 primary election, and as usual, there are a lot of tax and levy questions coming up, although many are renewals, which means they won’t affect current tax rates.

Here’s the list of new or additional levy and tax issues WYSO will be covering running up to May 6, 2014, based on county board of elections' preliminary information:

Montgomery County:

Brookville Local School District (LSD) will be seeking a 5.25-mill additional levy for operating expenses.

School bus
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The Beavercreek City School Board will hold its first regular meeting Thursday since a dramatic levy recount in November. The levy passed, but the vote was so close it wasn’t made official until December. In the final count, the $10 million five-year levy squeaked through with a 33-vote advantage.

Time for a spending blitz? Not so fast.

A controversial school levy in Beavercreek didn't pass Tuesday, but the tally was so close it has triggered a recount. The levy failed in the first count by just 29 votes.

This is the fifth time Beavercreek Schools has asked voters for an additional levy, and this time the margin was tighter than ever. Still, it was certainly not a win for the school system.

All three new school funding issues were defeated in Clark County, according to unofficial results from Tuesday's election. Northeastern had asked voters for a new income tax, and Clark-Shawnee sought a 7.59-mill additional levy to avoid a deficit.

Tecumseh Local Schools also failed to get its 5-year, 12.37-mill levy passed, with unofficial results showing that 54 percent of the voters rejected the measure. The district could face an operating deficit of over $7 million by 2017.

As in past years, new or additional taxes and levies for Miami Valley school districts proved more difficult to pass than renewals. Almost all renewals passed, with the exception of Jefferson Township, which defeated a renewal levy for the schools' operating expenses.

Montgomery County's other levies were a mixed bag with many tight margins for additional levies. Centerville, Kettering, Oakwood and Vandalia-Butler all passed additional levies, while Brookville and Huber Heights both defeated levies; in Huber Heights the margin was particularly wide.

Kib / Openclipart

Miami Valley voters will decide on a slew of tax levies for schools Tuesday. Across the Miami Valley, opponents of levies, especially new or additional ones, are saying they can’t take on extra property taxes. On the flip side, many school districts say they’ll have to cut programs, limit busing, or lay off staff to make slimmed-down budgets work. Read about some of the issues here.

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