Centerville schools to discuss finances, tax levy in three community forums

Voters rejected school district’s request to increase taxes Nov. 7; school board is trying to decide how to proceed on possible March tax levy request

The Centerville school district is considering putting a tax levy on the March 2024 ballot, and will host public community forums about school finances Dec. 11, Dec. 12 and Dec. 14.

In the Nov. 7 election, voters rejected a permanent 5.9-mill additional tax levy by a nearly 57-to-43 ratio.

If the 8,300-student school district wants to put a tax levy on the March ballot, all paperwork must be filed with Montgomery County Board of Elections by Dec. 20. The school board took the first of two required steps during its Nov. 27 meeting, approving three “resolutions of necessity” toward potential tax levies.

All three resolutions were about tax levies between 3.5 and 3.9 mills. But Centerville City Schools officials said Friday that does not mean the board has made a final decision on a March levy.

“Because next year’s primary election is earlier, it’s a short turnaround for school boards to make a decision and get the appropriate resolutions passed to return to the ballot in March,” said Superintendent Jon Wesney. “We’ve continued to discuss district finances at board meetings, and now we’re looking to gather input from the community so the board can make a final decision in December about whether to move forward with putting a levy on the March ballot.”

District leaders will host the community forums. The school board will then decide at its Dec. 18 meeting whether to approve a resolution to actually place a levy on the March 2024 ballot.

District leaders plan to share a brief presentation and then offer community members the opportunity to share their feedback about district finances on the following dates:

  • Dec. 11: Board work session at 6:30 p.m. at Centerville High School South Unit Commons, 500 E. Franklin St., during a 30-minute timeline for a public hearing.
  • Dec. 12: Listening session at 6:30 p.m. at Cline Elementary, 99 Virginia Ave.
  • Dec. 14: Listening session at 6:30 p.m. at Primary Village South, 8388 Paragon Road.

The board work session on Dec. 11 is slated to follow a typical work session agenda, which includes a public hearing.

At the Dec. 12 and 14 forums, district leaders will begin by delivering a presentation on school funding, including immediate budget reductions and options for future funding. District officials gave specific details about procedures for public feedback.

If any community member wants to provide feedback or ask questions regarding district finances, they can register to speak on a sign-up sheet, which will be available 30 minutes prior to each meeting, according to the district. A person can only register themselves and not others.

When a speaker is called, they must state their name and whether they are a district resident or non-resident, according to the district. To ensure that as many people as possible are heard, each person’s statement will be limited to three minutes or less, and participants may not speak more than once. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions about district finances.

District leaders will make an effort to address these questions during the forum, but some may require follow-up after the meeting. Additionally, a feedback form will be provided for attendees who prefer to submit questions without speaking during the meeting. All questions asked during the meeting and through the feedback form will receive responses, which will be posted on the district website.

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