Fairborn voters approve schools’ substitute levy

A Fairborn Primary teacher works one on one with a student Wednesday, April 21, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
A Fairborn Primary teacher works one on one with a student Wednesday, April 21, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Voters on Tuesday approved Fairborn City Schools’ request to make a 7-mill substitute levy permanent.

The measure passed 56.78% to 43.21%, according to unofficial results from the Greene County Board of Elections and Montgomery County Board of Elections.A total of 1,592 votes were cast.

The levy currently generates about $5 million annually for operating expenses, including teachers’ salaries, utilities and keeping school buses running. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $215 annually. Taxes for current homeowners will remain the same since the levy is a continuation, school officials say.

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The levy is the same one that voters approved in 2007, and then renewed in 2012 and 2016, said Pam Gayheart, Fairborn schools spokesperson.

This levy would allow for a small increase in overall revenue for new development, so that if a new home or business was built that will also be taxed. But Fairborn Schools treasurer Kevin Philo said if an existing property value goes up, then the effective millage would go down so the tax costs remain the same.

Like renewals, substitute levies don’t increase residents’ taxes when they are approved, but over time, they can produce more revenue for the school district, by applying the existing tax rate to any new construction.

In 2020, Fairborn voters approved a 5.83-mill bond issue, which will generate about $76 million for the construction of a new high school, complete with an athletic complex and performing arts center. With these local funds, through working with the State of Ohio Facilities Construction Commission ELPP program, the district will be eligible for $33 million from Ohio to construct a new middle school, Philo said.

Fairborn has begun work at the site of the new high school on Commerce Center Boulevard.

The levy on the May ballot would not go towards the costs of building the new schools. It only goes towards administration costs for the schools, Philo said.