Kings Schools district seeking 6.4-mill property tax increase on fall ballot

District covers Deerfield Twp., Landen, Kings Mills and South Lebanon.

Residents in the Kings Local Schools district in southern Warren County will be among those locally deciding school tax issues on the November ballot.

Officials with the growing Kings school system are echoing what some similar-sized Butler County districts are saying in criticizing the new state school funding as inadequate and a primary reason for seeking more local school tax support.

“We have a revenue problem, not a spending problem,” said Kings Treasurer Mike Morrow.

Joining Kings on the Nov. 8 ballot are Ross and Talawanda Schools, both also seeking property tax increases to cover projected budget shortfalls and operating expenses.

After initially considering placing a 6.9-mill levy on the fall ballot, Kings officials recently adjusted the millage down to a 6.4-mill operating levy.

If approved by voters the 6.4-mill property tax increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $224 annually.

“Currently, the district has a declining cash balance and is projected to be at a deficit in 2024. We are under fiscal oversight by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) due to our declining fund balance; therefore, the need to place the levy on the ballot,” said Kings Spokeswoman Dawn Gould, referring to the preliminary stage of a possible state takeover of some financial operations of the district should the levy be rejected by voters.

Ross Schools, which earlier this month saw voters reject its proposed tax hike, are in a similar position but Talawanda Schools have not fallen into the same ODE fiscal oversight category.

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Madison Schools officials have also cited inadequate state funding for their placement of an operating levy on the May ballot, which was defeated by voters. Madison had considered also being on the fall ballot but withdraw from that course and are instead making budget cuts as are Ross Schools.

“The Kings District has not asked the community for operating funds since 2016,” said Gould.

ExploreMadison Schools and Madison FD face budget cuts following tax levy defeats

“Efficient spending has helped extend the last levy’s length by an additional three years, including cost reductions of $1.6 million, without reducing services for our students. We spend less per pupil than over half of the districts in the state while being state funded in the bottom 13% of the state.”

“However, since the passage of the (2016) operating levy, Kings enrollment has increased by 597 students resulting in increased expenses,” said Gould of the district’s current 4,762 students.

The district, which covers Deerfield Twp., Landen, Kings Mills and South Lebanon, has in past years been one of the top-rated academically in the region with a high school that is often listed among the best in all of Ohio.

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