Kettering school board officially votes to put 5.99-mill tax levy on ballot

Board president Henderson says significant budget cuts “just not an option”

KETTERING — Voters in the Kettering City School District will decide whether to approve or reject a new tax levy in November.

A measure to place a 5.99-mill permanent issue on the ballot for more property taxes was approved 5-0 by the district’s board of education Tuesday night.

Montgomery County has certified that passage of the levy Nov. 8 would generate about $8.68 million in 2023, its first year, Kettering records show.

The levy would cost $209.65 more a year for the owner of a home valued at $100,000, Kettering Treasurer Cary Furniss said.

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The district is facing “significant” projected budget shortfalls the next five years if it doesn’t make any cuts, Board President Toby Henderson has said.

“This is new money based on new projections, increased costs and the like,” Henderson said after the vote. “So, we need additional money.”

He said “our only option is to have either a new levy … or no levy at all … At this point (that) isn’t something the board is considering because that would mean significant cuts in the district, which is not the direction the district is interested in heading or the citizens want to head. So, it’s just not an option as far as I understand.”

There were no comments from the audience regarding the levy in the past two meetings where the board specifically addressed resolutions on the issue. But there has been public input, Henderson said.

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“There is activity. There is interest,” he said. “People express one way or another on occasion before a board meeting. So, people do weigh in.”

Furniss has estimated that a 5.99-mill levy would last three years, “which means that in three years, we’ll be back to raise revenue, cut expenses or do both,” he said.

Two other options Furniss gave the board in recent weeks included a 5.49-mill tax with the same lifespan and a 4.99-mill levy projected to last two to three years.

The 5.99-mill option “would keep us with our projected cash balance” into 2024 and “allow us to operate our program for three additional years.” Furniss has said.

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Aug. 10 is the deadline for local jurisdictions to file to place an issue on the Nov. 8 ballot, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

The district’s five-year forecast in May showed projected operating deficits through June 2026.

If the district maintains current services and staffing, projections have Kettering schools’ $104.8 million budget showing a $3.16 million deficit next fiscal year with expenditures at $117.45 million and revenues at $106.3 million in the following fiscal year, records show.

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

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