Dayton Public Schools signs tax abatement agreement with UD, Premier for onMain

DPS will get lower property taxes indefinitely, but Premier and UD will provide additional support to DPS students.

University of Dayton and Premier Health offered additional concessions to Dayton Public Schools to approve a property tax abatement plan for the old Montgomery County fairgrounds redevelopment, which limits the school district’s property tax share.

The onMain project, which was first introduced in 2017 as a partnership between UD and Premier Health, will rebuild the old Montgomery County fairgrounds over a long period of time into a new neighborhood that will include residential and commercial options.

Local schools get a significant amount of their funding from property taxes. While most people think of the taxes paid by homeowners as the primary source of taxes for local schools, Ohio’s formula for state share of school funding relies on the property taxes expected from local businesses, not just homes.

But local businesses, unlike homeowners, can negotiate with the schools and city to get a lower property tax.

The onMain agreement between DPS, Premier and UD is tax increment financing, or TIF. In the first 15 years, DPS will collect 5% of the property taxes on residential and commercial buildings. In years 16-30, DPS receives 27% of the property taxes on residential and commercial buildings. In years 31 and beyond, DPS receives 65% of the property taxes on residential and commercial buildings.

According to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office, currently, the Commercial/Industrial total millage rate is 94.34 mills. Of that total millage, 62.11% is for Dayton City School District.

Dayton Public also will get some additional concessions from UD and Premier. UD is providing two additional Flyer Promise scholarships each year to DPS graduates. The Flyer Promise program helps underprivileged students in the area to attend UD. UD will also help with DPS personnel training.

“We look forward to growing the number of talented DPS students who will learn, lead and serve as part of our UD community,” said Eric F. Spina, University of Dayton president.

Premier Health’s concessions involved adding programs to generate interest in health care, such as conducting hiring events at DPS for graduating seniors, creating programs for parents and students on health care careers, and helping students get volunteer opportunities at Miami Valley Hospital.

The DPS superintendent will be able to be a member of onMain’s advisory board committee and will have a meeting with the presidents of Premier, onMain and UD annually.

The property tax revenue sharing plan will begin once the first building is opened at onMain. The educational and training benefits provided by UD and Premier will begin during the 2024-25 school year.

“The school board’s support of this agreement strengthens our commitment to partner in providing career opportunities for Dayton Public Schools students while providing key support to onMain, a transformational development that will benefit the Dayton region for decades to come,” said Michael C. Riordan, president and CEO of Premier Health.

The Dayton Public school board unanimously approved the TIF, but two members of the board said University of Dayton had been a better partner than Premier Health.

“My yes vote is because UD came in as a great partner, not Premier,” said board member Eric Walker.

Walker said Premier couldn’t agree with DPS on concessions the district wanted, like providing athletic trainers, which the district has struggled to get, and teaching nursing classes.

Chrisondra Goodwine, another board member, said UD “has really stepped up” and shown they wanted to grow with DPS.

“And as we go for it, I’m excited about the potential that this can bring to the area,” Goodwine said. “I am going to echo my colleague, Mr. Walker, that Premier has got some work to do there.”

Premier Health said in a statement they will be continuing to talk and listen.

“We have robust communications with the Dayton Public Schools, and value our long-standing partnership with the school district,” Premier Health spokesperson said. “We are always open to dialogue about how our collaboration can be even better.”

Will Smith, DPS president, said the agreement was important in the long-term.

“I look forward to us working as a team to look at all these different agreements that come to our district and make sure that we’re holding people accountable,” Smith said.

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