Kettering schools and the Greene County Career Center saw major tax levies pass Tuesday, meaning new buildings and new school programs are coming, but Beavercreek voters rejected their school levy, meaning budget cuts will occur next fall.
The other nine local school levies — renewals and other levies that won’t increase taxes — passed in communities from Troy and Tipp City to Franklin and Yellow Springs.
Voters narrowly rejected a new 6.2-mill school levy that school district leaders said was needed just to maintain existing levels of service. With all precincts counted in Greene and Montgomery counties, the margin was just 240 votes out of more than 26,000 ballots cast — a 50.5 to 49.5 ratio. Voter turnout was nearly 65 percent.
Superintendent Paul Otten said the district will begin planning both budget cuts for the 2019-20 school year and some type of levy for 2019.
NOVEMBER 2017: Beavercreek schools tax passes on second try
MORE DETAILS: Explaining the Beavercreek school levy
“The task in front of us is looking at what reductions we can make, and we also know we’re going to have to come back to the voters, or else we’ll be just dismantling the district,” Otten said. “We’re very disappointed with the outcome … but we have to respond to this and balance our budget.”
Otten said some cuts, such as reducing elective courses — and the staff who teach them — would be locked in place for next school year even if a levy passes in May, because student schedules have to be finalized before then.
Other cuts that may be planned for fall 2019 — Otten had previously mentioned busing levels and pay-to-participate fees as options — could be adjusted if a levy passes in May.
Beavercreek has a history of eventually passing initially rejected levies, including a substitute levy that did not raise taxes last year.
Greene County Career Center
Voters passed a 20-year, 1.03-mill bond issue to build a new $62 million career technical school, according to unofficial final results from six local counties’ boards of election. The vote was 55-45 in favor.
GCCC Superintendent Dave Deskins said the project will begin very quickly, with hopes to break ground within two months on the school board-owned property at the southwest corner of U.S. 35 and U.S. 68 on Xenia’s south side. Deskins said GCCC already has $5 million set aside to staff expanded programs. The fate of the existing 50-year-old GCCC facility on Enon Road is undecided.
MORE DETAILS: Explaining the Career Center levy
“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 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 identified in recent research. The Greene County bond vote comes one year after residents in Montgomery and other counties approved a bond levy to significantly expand the Miami Valley Career Tech Center in Clayton, as the region keeps trying to boost its number of skilled workers.
“As strong workforce development takes place, business and industry are attracted to that,” Deskins said. “So I think this will have an economic impact on the region.”
Voters approved Kettering City Schools’ permanent 5.99-mill additional tax levy by a 55-45 margin, according to the Montgomery and Greene County boards of election.
Superintendent Scott Inskeep said levy passage means the district will launch all-day kindergarten in fall 2019 and will expand career tech programs at Fairmont High School in fall 2020.
MORE DETAILS: Explaining the Kettering school levy
“For the kids, this means continued excellence and improvement in very strategic areas,” Inskeep said. “For our community, we want to thank them and tell them that we will be good stewards of this vote and make that money work for kids, to improve student achievement and create safe environments.”
The vote came on the heels of a 2016 school levy approval that provides significant facilities funds for the district for years to come.
Other levies pass
Greenon schools’ substitute levy was the closest school vote in the region, passing 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent.Troy, Tipp City, Newton and Yellow Springs all passed renewal levies easily, with more than 60 percent of the vote. Franklin schools’ large substitute levy and Brookville schools’ permanent improvement levy both passed 56-44. Bethel’s substitute levy, which was partially mislabeled on the ballot, passed 52-48, and Twin Valley schools’ income tax renewal passed 59-41.
MORE DETAILS: Explaining the Brookville school levy