Huber Heights School District levy is rejected

With 93 percent of the precincts counted, voters are rejecting the issue 62% to 38%. The vote total was 11,021 to 6,796.

District officials have said 77.5 staff positions – including 31.5 teaching jobs — would be eliminated if voters don’t approve the issue.

Last month, Superintendent Sue Gunnell and Treasurer Ann Bernardo outlined for the school board $3.4 million in proposed reductions for the 2013-14 school year in the event the levy fails.

Another $1.6 million in cuts are possible if the levy fails to avoid possible state fiscal oversight, Bernardo said, but those additional cuts have not yet been identified.

District voters haven’t approved a request for new operating money since 2005.

Gym and music classes will be reduced at the elementary level, all sports and choir will be eliminated at the junior high and electives such as foreign languages will be reduced at the high school. Another $1.6 million in cuts are likely to avoid possible state fiscal oversight.

Superintendent Sue Gunnell said she was disappointed voters didn’t approve the levy that would have generated $5.3 million annually for a continuing period of time.

This was the district’s third attempt to receive new operating money. Voters rejected a 1.5-percent earned income tax in May 2011 and an 8-mill levy last November.

“We probably still have many in our community who are struggling from the economic impact and saying, ‘I just can’t afford any more.’ I certainly can understand and respect that,” she said.

 Without the new revenue, the district faces a $2.7 million deficit by 2014. It has until December to submit a detailed plan to the Ohio Department of Education on how it plans to increase revenue or outline further reductions. One option is to return to the ballot but that decision has not been made.

The proposed staff reductions also include four administrators, 33.5 paraprofessionals, 4.5 custodial positions and four bus drivers. The district also is considering at least one furlough day for all administrators.

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