If the levy had been rejected, the district had planned to leave 2-3 teaching positions unfilled this summer, then likely put another levy on the ballot in November.
The district has touted $4.8 million in budget cuts, but the forecast shows those cuts have been offset by increases in other areas, with district general fund spending staying flat at $29.8 million in 2018-19, 2019-20 and this year. Revenues have been lower, averaging $29.1 million in those three years.
Superintendent Doug Cozad has said the financial need for a levy has not gone away, so the school district agreed to present the question to voters a fourth time. Local resident John Stafford, who has led a vocal “Vote No” movement, said the school district should have listened its residents’ voice in the first three votes.
This campaign, like the previous ones, has been contentious, with name-calling on both sides.
Stafford won a court ruling last year that the district violated open meetings law, and another of his complaints has triggered a state auditor’s investigation into school campaign spending.
School board officials have pointed out that Stafford repeatedly misrepresented the state’s 2020 performance audit findings about Bellbrook schools, and used false information in social media posts about the levy.
Cozad said this spring that if the levy passed, he would generally be comfortable with the education and services the district can provide in the coming years, pending news on the state legislature’s new K-12 school funding plan.