Voters OK $62M Greene County Career Center; other school levies pass

UPDATE (11:55 pm)

The Greene County Career Center’s bond issue to build a new $62 million school passed solidly, according to unofficial results from six local counties’ boards of election. The ratio was 55-45 in favor of the 20-year bond, with 66,000 people casting ballots.

GCCC Superintendent Dave Deskins said the project will begin almost immediately, with plans to break ground on the school board-owned property near U.S. 35 and U.S. 68 by the end of the year.

“We have been timing this with hopeful confidence and strong faith that the public would support it,” Deskins said. “We’re on a path for this project to get started very soon and to be completed for the 2020-21 school year.”

The Career Center will maintain its existing programs, but intends to expand aerospace offerings to meet local job market needs.

Elsewhere in Greene County, the Yellow Springs renewal school levy was approved by an overwhelming 76-24 ratio.

Clark County appears to have had the closest local school levy race. With 100 percent of precincts reporting unofficial results, voters appeared to be passing the Greenon schools’ substitute levy, 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent. That’s just barely outside the margin requiring an automatic recount, but there could still be provisional ballots to count in the district just north of Fairborn.

In Montgomery County, the Brookville school levy, which was a near dead heat early in the night, ended up passing by a solid 56-44 ratio. It was an additional levy, but because the district refinanced existing bonds, residents school tax burden will actually decline slightly.

In Miami County, there was one close vote, as Bethel Local Schools’ substitute levy appeared to have passed by a 52-48 ratio after trailing for much of the evening. The Troy, Tipp City and Newton schools renewal levies all passed comfortably, with more than 60 percent of voters approving each of them.

In Warren County, Franklin City Schools’ large substitute school levy passed, according to unofficial final results from the Warren County board of elections. The ratio was 56-44.

In Preble County, with all precincts reporting, the Twin Valley schools income tax renewal levy was passing, with 59 percent of votes in favor.

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FIRST STORY

Voters all around the Dayton area are deciding today on school levies of different shapes and sizes.

One of the biggest is the Greene County Career Center’s bond levy to build a new $62 million school at U.S. 35 and U.S. 68 in Xenia, replacing the current 50-year-old Enon Road campus.

FOLLOW TONIGHT: Beavercreek voters deciding on large new school levy

GCCC Superintendent David Deskins said the Career Center hopes to expand offerings in certain areas based on its recent study of the local job market in the aerospace industry. The bond issue is 1.03 mills for 20 years, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $36.05 per year if it passed.

On-campus enrollment in full GCCC programs has increased from 514 four years ago to nearly 700 this year, and the number of students taking individual courses at school districts’ satellite programs has risen from 1,200 to 2,300.

Deskins said thriving career centers “guarantee that a lot of our kids are going to be able to find jobs and stay in jobs in our area.”

Brookville schools

Brookville’s 2-mill permanent improvement levy has a twist. It’s an additional levy and is permanent, but it comes just as the district has refinanced its construction bonds, creating a significant savings for taxpayers.

DETAILS: Deeper explanation of today’s Brookville school levy

Essentially, a “yes” vote on the levy would mean the school district gets the new levy funds, while the owner of a $100,000 home would actually see their school taxes drop by about $10 per year. A “no” vote would mean no new facility funding for the schools, and an $80 annual tax drop for that property owner.

Superintendent Tim Hopkins said school security options, computer maintenance/replacement, and the purchase of a handicap-accessible school bus would be first priorities if the levy passes. Textbooks, HVAC work, parking lot repairs and more would eventually be on the project list.

Substitute levies

** Bethel schools: The 10-year, 3.49-mill levy would keep existing residents' tax rates the same if passed. But like all substitute levies, it would allow tax revenue to grow in future years via collections from new construction.

The levy for the small district just east of Tipp City was partially mislabeled as a renewal on voters’ ballots and Board of Elections documents. Bethel Schools Treasurer Brennon Hattery said the levy will fund day-to-day operational expenses such as utilities, bus fuel, custodial services, building insurance and state audit fees.

FOLLOW TONIGHT: Kettering voters deciding on levy earlier than expected

** Franklin schools: A 15.89-mill substitute levy would combine two large, existing levies into one, providing another five years of day-to-day operating money. School officials say one main reason for combining the levies is to avoid the voter fatigue of repeatedly having to renew them in back-to-back years.

Because the two existing levies expire at the end of 2019 and 2020, the schools’ existing revenue stream would not change in 2019 if the levy is rejected.

** Greenon schools: Like Franklin, Greenon aims to combine two existing levies into a single substitute, where existing taxpayers' rates would actually drop slightly, but the schools could gain future revenue if new home or business construction occurs.

Regular renewal levies

** Troy schools: Voters are deciding whether to renew a 1.1-mill permanent improvement levy for another five years. The levy would continue to raise $715,000 per year and continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $30.28 annually. Permanent improvement levies have to be used on longer-life assets, such as building maintenance, or buying buses, textbooks and other items.

** Tipp City schools: Voters are deciding whether to renew a 2.0-mill permanent improvement levy, and this time make it permanent. The levy would continue to raise $669,000 per year and continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $49.94 annually.

** Yellow Springs schools: The district asked voters to renew a 1.2-mill permanent improvement levy for another five years. The levy would continue to raise $138,000 per year and continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $30.92 annually.

** Newton schools: The small Miami County district hopes voters will renew a 0.75 percent school income tax for another three years, to pay for regular operating expenses. This individual levy makes up almost half of Newton's total 1.75 percent school income tax.

** Twin Valley schools: The small Preble County district is asking voters to renew a 0.75 percent school income tax for another five years, to pay for regular operating expenses. This individual levy makes up exactly half of Twin Valley's total 1.5 percent school income tax.

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