Sinclair Community College will seek renewal of $27M levy

Sinclair Community College is asking Montgomery County voters to renew a levy that will generate around $27 million for the school.

The school’s 10-year, 3.2 mill levy will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. Revenue from the levy makes up about 20 percent of the college’s funding.

Since Sinclair is seeking a renewal, Montgomery County homeowners will not see an increase in the amount they pay if the levy passes. An owner of a $100,000 home pays $98 a year for the levy.

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“Sinclair has had a great and historic 130 year partnership with the people of Montgomery County,” Sinclair president Steve Johnson said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “The Montgomery County levy provides Sinclair with resources that we use to make sure that this community has access to the best higher education services that we can provide.”

The original 10-year levy expires in December 2018, almost a year and six months from now.

Putting the levy on the ballot this fall allows Sinclair some leeway if the renewal effort is not approved by voters, said spokesman Adam Murka.

But, that has never been an issue for Sinclair. The school passed its first levy in 1966 and voters have approved each renewal since.

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College officials decided that this fall was the right time to go for a renewal because of the positive outcomes Sinclair has had over the last year, Murka said.

In April, Johnson announced the school would set a new record for the number of certificates and degrees awarded and completion rates have also been on the rise. Sinclair also plans to open a renovated and expanded Health Sciences Center to students this August.

““We want to go out and tell that story,” Murka said. ”We read the terrain and now was the time to make our case to the community.”

Montgomery County residents pay a lower tuition rate than out-of-county students, because of the levy. No levy funds are ever used outside of Montgomery County, according to Sinclair, which is subject to state law and verified by regular audits performed by outside auditors.

The levy that will appear on the November ballot is one of two the school has in place.

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In 2015, Montgomery County residents passed the second levy with 54 percent of the vote. That levy was projected to generate around $8.5 million per year and lasts for eight years.

The upcoming renewal effort is one of several measures Sinclair has taken this year to maintain its financial position.

In June, Sinclair trustees voted to hike tuition by $7 per credit hour for spring 2018 to generate $850,000 in additional revenue. That tuition increase was postponed until the 2018-2019 school year because of a veto by Gov. John Kasich in the state budget.

The school also increased its student and course fees to bring in another $1.6 million.

“The Board of Trustees believes strongly in the value that Sinclair provides to the people of Montgomery County and in the power of the levy to improve the lives of students and the economy of this community,” Sinclair board of trustees chair Rob Connelly said. “We are very excited to move forward this fall.”

By the numbers

Sinclair Community College will ask Montgomery County voters to renew a 3.2-mill levy on the ballot this fall. Since the measure is a renewal, homeowners will not see their property taxes increase.

$27 million: Amount of annual revenue the levy is expected to generate.

20 percent: The portion of the college's funding the levy makes up.

10: Number of years the levy lasts.

1966: The year Sinclair passed its first levy.

2015: The last time Sinclair approved a levy, a separate one that runs for eight years.

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