Miamisburg schools substitute levy aimed at replacing two expiring ones

Miamisburg Board of Education at its most recent meeting voted to approve a resolution putting a substitute levy on the ballot this November. STAFF FILE PHOTO

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Miamisburg Board of Education at its most recent meeting voted to approve a resolution putting a substitute levy on the ballot this November. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Miamisburg City School District will place a substitute levy on the ballot this November to replace two that will expire in the coming few years.

The substitute levy, if approved, would generate a fixed rate of $14 million annually starting in 2023. It’s a measure aimed at replacing two other levies, an 8.65-mill, five-year emergency renewal levy approved in 2017 that will expire in 2023 and a five-year, 8.3-mill substitute levy approved in 2019 that will expire in 2025.

The school district collects $6.7 million and $7.225 million a year from those two levies, funding that would be immediately and entirely replaced by the 14.76-mill substitute levy.

It is is “very similar” to an emergency levy, but the substitute levy can go into continuing status whereas the emergency levy can only go for 5 to 10 years, said John Espy, the district’s treasurer/chief financial officer.

“We understand that we’re not going to be able to offer the same level of education without this funding,” Espy said. “When we look at the total of voters in Ohio, a large portion of data says that voters want to essentially pass it and not have to go back to the ballot for it.”

Substitute levies do not increase taxes for property owners. However, if new homes or businesses were built on a property, the district would receive additional funding.

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Miamisburg board of education at its most recent meeting voted to approve a resolution putting the substitute levy on the ballot this November.

“If we were to just ... go for that money in that year that they (each levy) would be expiring, you’re talking about two levy cycles within two years,” Espy said. “It’s definitely something that is taxing on a lot of people. It’s something that we’re cognizant of.”

The district is engaging in several different savings measures in addition to seeking the levy, said Espy, who became the district’s treasurer/CFO last October. He previously served as treasurer at Clermont Northeastern Local School.

That includes applying for and receiving a school bus grant that will give the district four buses for the price of two, he said. It also utilized an emergency connectivity grant where it received $500,000 to purchase 1,700 new Chromebooks at no cost to taxpayers.

In addition, Miamisburg school district has reduced some contracts to keep costs low, especially with inflation, he said. One example, is the district’s voiceover IP contract, where it was able to save $43,000 over a 5-year term, Espy said.

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“We’re also just doing capital planning where we can essentially make sure that we’re not using a break-fix mentality, where we’re actually planning ahead for replacements,” he said. “Although that comes out of our PI (permanent improvement) fund that allows us to not have to dip into our General Fund, which is advantageous to our taxpayers.”

The district also has examined its staffing levels when there is a retirement or resignation and worked with its unions through the process, Espy said. That’s helped Miamisburg schools save more than $1 million from this school year going into next year, he said.

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