PREBLE COUNTY — Three local schools will have levies on the ballot next Tuesday.
Preble Shawnee Board of Education members voted unanimously to place a .75-percent general operating levy on the ballot during a special meeting held Tuesday, July 28. The measure, if passed, would tax school district residents $.75 for every $100 of income. A resident making $50,000 would pay $375 in taxes over the course of a year, according to Superintendent Dr. Matt Bishop.
Bishop stressed that the measure is intended to fund general operating costs for the district, as opposed to the property tax bond issue that was defeated at the polls earlier this year, which would have paid for construction of a new PreK-5 school building.
“There’s nothing attached to this – no buildings, no renovation, nothing. Just pure operating dollars,” Bishop said.
Bishop also pointed out that the district has been operating at a deficit since the last operating levy, passed in 2010, expired in 2015. The district has been running on reserve dollars since that time, funds that Bishop warned would soon run out.
“Mainly the question is: does the community want to continue with the program that we have? The technology that we have, the materials that we do, the extracurricular activities, the staffing?” Bishop said. “If we don’t get new revenue, we’re going to have to reduce those expenditures, which would mean [reducing] people and programs.”
Bishop stressed that the district’s current financial predicament is not sustainable if residents expect the same level of education Preble Shawnee currently provides.
“At the end of the day we’re going to deliver an educational program that matches the revenues that are coming in,” Bishop said. “I’m hoping that the community will look at the work we’ve done, and see the type of education that an average Preble Shawnee student receives, and say, ‘I like that. I want that to continue.’ We’re not talking about adding a whole bunch of stuff – this is all just maintaining what we’re doing.”
Bishop stressed that he would make himself available to any school district resident who has questions about the levy.
“I’ll talk to anybody, I’ll email anybody, I’ll come to their house and be socially distanced and wear a mask,” Bishop said. “I certainly don’t want anyone to vote for or against the levy without being informed. If it’s something that they can’t afford right now because of the situation we’re in with the pandemic, then I respect that. But I don’t want anybody to not vote for it because they don’t have all the facts.”
Twin Valley Community Schools
Twin Valley Community Local School District will have two renewal levies on the ballot next week. The first, Issue 19, is a nine-mill property tax levy intended to fund general operating costs for the district. The measure would tax property owners in the district $0.90 for every one hundred dollars of assessed property value, for 5 years, commencing in 2021.
Issue 20, meanwhile, is a two-mill renewal that would tax property owners an additional $0.20 per hundred dollars of valuation, up to a total amount of $255,092 over a period of 5 years, also commencing in 2021, according to information posted on the school district’s website.
The nine-mill levy was first passed in March of 1981, according to Superintendent Scott Cottingim. The two-mill levy was first passed in 1991. Both were last successfully renewed in 2015.
“They’ll basically maintain our current levels of staff, technology, academics, transportation and programming,” Cottingim said of the levies, stressing that district residents won’t be paying any more than they already are if the measures are renewed.
Cottingim also pointed out the district’s history of being financially responsible to taxpayers.
“We’ve been very vigilant about keeping spending down and making cuts when needed,” Cottingim said. “We don’t want to waste taxpayers’ money. We want to provide for our students and, at the same time, keep a positive balance.”
The Miami Valley Career Technology Center will have a 2.18-mill renewal levy on the ballot. This specific levy was last on the ballot in Nov. 2011, according to information posted on MVCTC’s website, and provides approximately 45 percent of the revenue required for normal daily operations. The remainder primarily comes directly from the State of Ohio.
The levy costs property owners in the school’s service area $6.36 per month for every $100,000 of assessed value, and will provide revenue to operate MVCTC’s career-technical programs, which serve students from 27 different school districts across five counties, including Preble County.
“Every year, the MVCTC impacts approximately 5,500 high school and 4,000 adult students across the Miami Valley region, which includes your family, friends, and neighbors,” a statement posted to the school’s website reads. “Renewal of the levy will allow MVCTC to continue to offer world-class career-technical programming to our entire region.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish