School officials said a combined 6.9-mill levy proposed for the November ballot would be the first request for additional money Centerville City Schools has requested in six years, the longest the district has ever gone between levies, according to Superintendent Tom Henderson.
Board of education members Monday night took the first step to place a combination issue on the fall ballot that would provide 5.9 mills for operating expenses and 1 mill for permanent improvements.
Henderson cited enrollment, which grew by 300 students last year, and other reasons for the funding request.
“In addition to a growing student population and the regular inflationary costs of doing business, costs have risen for school safety needs, special education, preschool, College Credit Plus, social and emotional wellness and other unfunded state mandates in recent years,” he said.
Owners of a property valued at $100,000 would pay about $240 a year for the new levy, according to preliminary estimates.
The county auditor’s office must certify the total tax valuation of the district and the dollar amount that would be generated by the levy.
The board will then need to approve a second resolution to place the levy on the ballot, which should happen at its July meeting. The filing deadline with the Montgomery County Board of Elections for the November ballot is Aug. 7.
Without the additional operating levy being considered, Henderson said the district will be faced with making cuts to staff and educational programs.
Henderson said district leaders have watched the financial forecast for more than a year.
“ Since the start of 2019, we’ve been reaching out to our community and gathering information through in-depth phone interviews, through focus groups and also through phone surveys with our community,” he said.
During the 2018-19 school year, the district’s expenses began to exceed its revenue, prompting use of reserve funds, he said.
“Additional funding is now needed to ensure we can keep and attract quality teachers, provide up-to-date educational technology and maintain reasonable class sizes,” Henderson said.
The board indicated that the district’s school facilities are aging — noting that one of its buildings is 95 years old, and several others are more than 50 years old.
Maintaining the facilities and providing a safe and effective learning environment is a high priority for the board.
Treasurer Mitch Biederman noted in his report that 13.7 percent of the district’s general fund revenue comes from the state funding formula, which is why the school district must rely on local taxpayer support.
“We are thankful that our community has historically supported our district well,” he said. “Next month I will be able to report the actual revenue to the board in all categories. We should have a new governor-approved state funded biannual budget that I will be able to share more information next month.”