Vandalia seeks largest school income tax hike in region in 10 years



Editor’s note: This story is part of a Dayton Daily News analysis of school levies on the May ballot. Go here to read the full story including historical school tax trends and increases sought by other school districts in the region

The Vandalia-Butler City School District is asking voters in this year’s May election for an additional 1% earned income tax to fund daily operations. This request is the largest school income tax request in the past 10 years in the region of Miami, Greene, Montgomery, and northern Warren counties, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of school district and elections board records.

If approved, the levy will generate about $6.4 million per year and last five years, said Vandalia-Butler Treasurer Eric Beavers. For a person with $50,000 in annual taxable income, the levy would cost $500 a year.

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Vandalia Superintendent Rob O’Leary said the funds would pay for the cost of daily operations, and in all local school districts, the No. 1 expense is employee salary and benefits. O’Leary said the levy would help fund the school safety officer program, middle school and high school electives and elementary classes like art and music.

O’Leary said the district has never previously used an income tax, though it’s been discussed. But this option allows flexibility in payment with inflation and job loss and doesn’t impact most senior citizens in the community, who may have trouble affording the property tax increases.

The district’s last operating levy that increased tax rates was 10 years ago. That 6.99-mill levy narrowly passed in 2013 after being rejected twice the previous year.

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The Ohio School Boards Association said school income tax requests were down last year, with 28, compared to 53 in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.