Kettering OKs new superintendent contract, considers fall tax levy



KETTERING — The next Kettering City Schools superintendent may be tasked with helping pass a tax levy this November.

The board of education Tuesday night approved a four-year contract for new superintendent Melinda McCarty-Stewart. It also adopted a financial forecast that includes a fall tax levy recommendation — which its president said is likely — in the face of a projected $11.1 million deficit in fiscal year 2024.

McCarty-Stewart, the current top administrator for Wilmington City Schools, will become Kettering’s first female superintendent Aug. 1 with an annual base salary of $175,000, replacing Scott Inskeep.

McCarty-Stewart, 50, said Tuesday night she was “honored and humbled” by the pick, which followed “a very thorough process” that was “one of the reasons why I’m so attracted” to the district.

“I saw the commitment that this board and the community (and) staff have in selecting the next superintendent,” she said.

McCarty-Stewart earlier told the Dayton Daily News that “Kettering has a longstanding history of high achievement and strong community support in providing the best education for all students.”

The board also approved 10 paid transition days for McCarty-Stewart, to be used between Tuesday and July 31, when Inskeep is set to retire.

Proposed tax levy

Ohio election records show Aug. 10 is the filing deadline to have local issues on the November ballot. The five-year forecast that Kettering schools Treasurer Cary Furniss presented Tuesday recommends a tax levy to maintain programs and services.

Board President Toby Henderson said “it’s probably no secret that we’re going to be on the ballot — I believe — at the end of the year.”

The timing, amount and projected length of a levy will be discussed in June and July board meetings, officials said.

Kettering schools voters have approved many new operating levies over the years, including in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013. They approved a permanent 3.45-mill levy primarily for facilities in 2016, then when the school district came back a year earlier than planned with a 5.99-mill operating levy in 2018, voters approved that as well.

The district’s latest projections suggest Kettering schools will operate at a $3.16 million deficit next fiscal year, and then an $11.1 million deficit the following year, with expenditures at $117.45 million and revenues at $106.3 million.

It takes about 18 months for a new levy to be fully collected on a fiscal year basis and Kettering has a 24-month supply of cash through this June 30, the forecast states.

Voters in the Kettering district approved an additional 5.99-mill levy in 2018, Montgomery County records show.

The tax levy that voters approved in 2018 was expected to generate about $7.5 million a year in new money and cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 home about $209 more per year, district officials said at the time.

“In many respects I’m glad that we’ve been able to stretch the last levy as long as we have,” Henderson said.

In 2018, he said, “we committed we would not come back to the voters for three years. And we were able to extend that to four years.

“We’re always very cautious and cognizant of our tax burdens of the folks in our city,” Henderson added. “So, we’ll look at it very seriously of course.”

Kettering school finances
Fiscal year Revenues Expenditures
2022$106.0 M$100.7 M
2023$104.8 M$108.0 M
2024$106.3 M$117.4 M
2025$107.5 M$121.5 M
2026$109.4 M$125.6 M
Source: Kettering City Schools

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