Local voters will see 24 tax levies on the May 2 ballot and once again, school construction issues headline the list.
The Miami Valley Career Tech Center and Carlisle Schools have bonds for school construction on the ballot for the first time, while the Xenia, Valley View and Preble Shawnee school districts are back for a second try after voters rejected requests in November. All would leverage millions in state funding if local voters agree to pick up the rest.
There are renewal levies scattered across the area — for Northmont, Oakwood and Yellow Springs schools, as well as the cities of West Carrollton and Bellbrook, plus Oakwood’s Wright Library.
* The Miami Valley Career Technology Center serves high school students and adults from 27 school districts primarily in five counties. Superintendent Nick Weldy said the state has agreed to pay 47 percent of a huge project to add classroom space, upgrade technology and improve safety at the 50-year-old campus in Clayton … if voters approve the rest of the funding.
“In one of our buildings, the heating, roofing, ventilation, electrical, plumbing were all marked in the worst category of needing complete replacement,” Weldy said of the state’s assessment. “We’re trying to take advantage of co-funding from the state so we lessen the burden on our taxpayers.”
Weldy said MVCTC has to turn away more than 200 students per year because of a lack of space and is still teaching precision machining on decades-old technology. If the levy passes, MVCTC will be able to acquire state-of-the-art technology, improve safety by linking separate buildings and add classroom space to expand capacity.
For the owner of a $100,000 home, the annual cost of the combined bond issue and tax levy would be $50.05 for the first 10 years, then $38.15 for the last 20 years.
* Xenia, Valley View and Preble Shawnee are asking residents to reconsider their “no” votes from November, putting their shared state/local school construction bond issues back on the ballot.
Preble Shawnee’s combo 2.5-mill bond levy and 0.75 percent income tax was rejected by a 53-47 ratio in November. Their plan would replace a 1982 high school and two much older elementaries. Valley View’s 5.48-mill bond levy lost by a 57-43 ratio. The district hopes to replace two 1920s school buildings, a 1950 elementary and the 1968 high school with three buildings on existing sites.
In Xenia, the plan is the same as the one defeated 53-47 in November — replace the 1962 Warner Middle School and 1976 Xenia High School with a single new building at Ohio 42 and Ledbetter Road. But Superintendent Denny Morrison said the cost has gone up, from 3.9 mills to 4.2 mills, because the interest rates the district can get have gone up.
“In our (campaign), we’re going to focus more on what this means for our kids so they can compete,” Morrison said, rather than focusing mainly on structural failings of the buildings. “We can’t do a lot of the project-based learning activities in our spaces, and our building systems cannot support the modern educational technologies.”
* Carlisle Local Schools is also trying to take advantage of Ohio Facilities Construction Commission funding, putting a bond levy on the ballot to build a single new PreK-12 school building.
In Carlisle, the state would pay 59 percent of the $49 million project if voters agree to pay for the rest. The annual cost for the owner of a $100,000 home would be $217.
The new school would be located between the current high school and the stadium and will include a 500 seat auditorium and expanded gymnasium (1,400 seats), as well as technology and safety upgrades.
* Beavercreek, Northmont, Oakwood, Tipp City, Yellow Springs and Bethel are asking residents to renew existing levies at the current rate.
* Lebanon Schools is seeking renewal of an emergency levy will actually lower residents’ costs, according to Warren County auditor Matt Nolan, with millage dropping from 5.38 to 4.84. Beavercreek Schools is using a substitute levy to update its 6-mill emergency levy, so tax rates will not increase.
* The city of Brookville has two separate tax increase levies on the May 2 ballot – a 5.0-mill levy for police services and a 2.5-mill levy for road and bridge funding. The combined annual cost for the owner of a $100,000 home would be $262.50. City leaders could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Speak out on the tax issues on our Ohio Politics Facebook page. Also, look for more in-depth coverage on these election issues and candidates between now and the May 2 election.
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