Kettering Schools to pull levy from May ballot

Hours before Gov. John Kasich announced the new state funding plan, the Kettering board of education voted Feb. 6 to seek 5.9 additional mills from voters.

The deadline to place the levy on the ballot, also Feb. 6, arrived before the impact of the state budget could be analyzed.

In the week since, preliminary findings indicate that Kettering schools could receive a 25 percent increase in state funding for fiscal year 2014 and 22.45 percent for 2015.

That could boost the district’s state funding from $9.6 million for fiscal year 2013 to an estimated $12.1 million for 2014 and $14.8 million for 2015.

The state budget is still a work in progress, however, and does not include figures for transportation, career technical education or special needs pre-schoolers.

“In Kettering, we never, ever ask for any more money than we absolutely need,” Schoenlein said. “It will take four months for the new funding formula to wind its way through the legislature, but by July we should know pretty close to what we’ll get.”

Montgomery County Board of Elections director Steven Harsman said there would be no complication or financial penalty if Kettering Schools submits its final decision by March 13.

“We’ve had inquiries from a few districts about pulling their levies, but no official decisions yet. They’re all weighing their options,” Harsman said.

“A lot of schools would like to adjust the millage of those issues, based on Kasich’s plan, but state law doesn’t allow that option. You either put the levy on, or take it off the ballot.”

Schoenlein said Kettering considered waiting until November to seek a levy, because the funding picture would be clear. “The risky part is that you only get one shot (in 2013) then,” he said. The decision to seek a levy in May was based on the probability that “we were going to get cut again.”

If approved by voters, a 5.9-mill levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $180 a year. It would have raised an estimated $7.1 million for the district, which has 7,400 students in Kettering and a portion of Moraine.

Harsman said the deadline for removing a levy from the May 7 ballot “is a little later this year, due to the fact that election materials for Dayton city commission and mayoral races aren’t due until March 8.”

Kettering Schools have an $82 million budget. The district’s voters approved 4.9-mill levy in 2010.

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