Area voters split in approving new money levies for local schools

Beavercreek, Oakwood pass levies; Vandalia, Northmont, Centerville say no

Multiple area schools seeking new funding failed to pass levies on Tuesday night, including some trying for a second time and some who were seeking funding for new or updated buildings, according to final, unofficial results from area boards of election.

Among those districts that were able to pass levies on Tuesday were Beavercreek, Oakwood and Troy. Yellow Springs appeared to have passed an issue to update the village’s schools by a thin margin.

Those whose voters did not approve new levies included Centerville, Greeneview, Northmont, Milton-Union and Vandalia-Butler. Some of those districts say they may need to return to the voters to ask for money.

Levies that failed

Centerville Schools voters opposed the issue in final, unofficial results by 57% to 43%. Centerville asked voters for a new combined 5.4-mill operating and 0.5-mill permanent improvement levy. It would have cost an additional $206.50 a year per $100,000 of home value and generated $12.9 million per year. Approximately $11.8 million of that amount was for district operating expenses, and $1.1 million was earmarked for permanent improvements.

“Our expenses continue to outpace our revenue, so we will start working with our Board of Education immediately on our next steps,” Centerville Superintendent Jon Wesney said.

In unofficial, final results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections, 54% of Vandalia-Butler schools voters were against the school levy, while about 46% were for it. Vandalia-Butler was asking for an additional $2.8 million, or 4 mills, to avoid an operating deficit. It would have cost a property owner $140 in property taxes per year per $100,000 in property values.

Superintendent Robert O’Leary said the board has already approved some budget cuts if the levy does not pass. The school district will need to cut $1.2 million, he said, including the reconfiguration of two elementary schools and reducing teacher and operations positions.

“Those cost reductions would go into effect the 2024-2025 school year, so next school year,” O’Leary said.

He said the board had already talked about reappearing on the ballot next spring.

About 54% of Northmont voters cast ballots against the proposed levy, and 46% had voted for it. Northmont Schools asked voters to approve an additional 5.5-mill emergency levy expected to generate about $4 million per year for a 10-year period. It would have cost $192.50 per $100,000 in property valuation a year.

Northmont spokeswoman Jenny Wood said the next board meeting is Nov. 20, and the board will likely be discussing next steps there.

“This is a decision the Board will have to make going forward, but as long as state funding stays the same, school districts will have to continue to come back to the voters to make up the shortfall from the state,” Wood said.

Last spring, Northmont voters rejected a proposed 7.82-mill property tax levy, which would have raised $5.8 million annually for the school district, costing homeowners about $274 per $100,000 in property value in a year.

Voters in Milton-Union opposed a 7.62-mill emergency levy 71% no to 29% yes, according to unofficial, final results from Miami County. The levy would have brought in $2 million per year for seven years and cost an additional $267 per $100,000 in property tax valuation per year.

Greeneview Local School District asked for $19 million over 37 years and a permanent improvement levy that collects about $277,346 annually. In unofficial final results, from the Greene County Board of Elections, 63% of voters had voted against the measure while 37% voted for it.

Levies that passed

Beavercreek schools asked for a 1-mill replacement levy. A homeowner will pay $35 a year for every $100,000 in taxable property valuation. Under the current property tax, homeowners pay about $14 per $100,000 in property valuation per year. In final, unofficial results, about 51% of voters approved the issue while about 49% opposed it.

Nearly 58% of Oakwood voters voted yes on a proposed school levy for the district in unofficial, final results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections, and about 42% had voted against the levy. Oakwood asked for a combined operating and improvement levy of 6.75 mills. The 5.75-mill operating levy will generate about $2.1 million annually, while the improvement levy, which is 1 mill, would generate about $373,000 annually. The combined levy will cost $236 per $100,000 of appraised value.

Neil Gupta, Oakwood superintendent, said while Oakwood has a long history of passing school levies, district officials still wanted to make sure the public felt the schools were good stewards of tax dollars.

“I am just really proud of the community for their hard work,” he said.

Troy schools was asking for $87.8 million over 37 years to build new school buildings, which would cost $163 per $100,000 in property value, and $2.3 million for permanent improvements, which would be $81 per $100,000 in property value. In unofficial, final results, 54% of Troy voters had approved of the measure while 46% voted no.

Yellow Springs voters appeared to pass an issue that will help the district improve and update aging buildings, according to unofficial, final results from the Greene County Board of Elections. The district had 52% of votes for the levy and 48% against. The district asked for a 7.9-mill, $26.3 million levy over 37 years and a 1% income tax levy to build new school buildings. The property tax would cost $277 per $100,000 in property value. The income tax will be $500 per $50,000 in taxable income.

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