Xenia school levy that failed by 1 vote going back on the ballot in May

Residents will decide whether to renew an existing income tax that raises about 10% of the schools’ annual budget

XENIA — The Xenia school board voted Wednesday night to place an income tax renewal levy before school district voters again in the May 2 election.

Voters will again be asked to renew the existing 0.5% income tax for a period of seven more years. Collection of taxes from the existing levy is set to expire at the end of 2023. The renewal levy would not increase the tax rate.

The renewal was struck down by a margin of one vote out of more than 12,600 in November. It is fairly rare for renewal levies of existing taxes to be rejected, according to Ohio School Boards Association records, let alone by one vote.

The income tax raises approximately $4.5 million per year, or 10% of the district’s operating budget, according to public documents. The operating levy provides “critical” funding to support the day-to-day operations of the district, Superintendent Gabe Lofton previously told the Dayton Daily News.

“The income tax levy renewal on the ballot this May funds day-to-day needs for the district, ranging from our athletics and gifted program to the curriculum and technology we use in our classrooms,” Lofton said Thursday. “Since these are not new funds, this levy is truly critical to our ability to maintain our budget and continue to provide these programs at current levels.”

District officials said more information explaining the levy for parents and district residents will be forthcoming in the spring.

Xenia received $38 million from the state to construct the new Warner Middle School and fund a major renovation and expansion for Xenia High School. However, by law, the district cannot use construction funding for day-to-day operations — things like teachers’ salaries and supplies — and vice versa.

If a renewal is passed at any time during this calendar year, the school district won’t see a gap in its funding stream, school officials said.

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