Loveland, Ohio – On Tuesday, December 17, the Loveland Board of Education voted unanimously and passed a resolution to place an operating levy of 6.95 mills on the March 2020 ballot. The decision follows a failed combined operating and permanent improvement/bond issue of 16.78 mills on the November 5, 2019 ballot. “YES” votes totaled 2,447 and “NO votes totaled 8,634.
The failed levy was for the same millage amount of new operating funds the voters will be asked to approve on March 17 – 6.95 mills. The Hamilton County Auditor estimates the new operating levy would generate $6,164,257 in the first year of additional income for the District. Collections would begin in 2021.
The cost of the combined 16.78-mill levy translated into $49 monthly per $100,000 of appraised home value. If passed last November, collections would have begun in 2020. The failed November levy included 9.83 mills to pay for issuing $118.515,000 of debt for new construction, 3.41 mills for additional permanent improvements and 6.9 mills for operating expenses.
The new levy request will be approximately $20/month ($243 annually) per $100,000 of appraised value.
The last operating levy was for 5.6 mills and it was passed in May of 2014
In a press release, the District said that there will be approximately $2.7 million of budget cuts made in conjunction with the levy. According to Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse, they will include a combination of reductions in the “instructional cycle budget” (textbooks, etc.), staff and contracted services, and others.
According to the District, if the March levy fails additional cuts would be made before the district would go back to the ballot and ask for additional operating funds in November of 2020.
Operating levies fund the school district’s day-to-day expenses, including the salary and benefits of staff, which the District says make up approximately 83 percent of operating expenditures. Loveland Schools receive about 32 percent of its budget revenue from the state. The majority of the current budget, nearly 60 percent, is generated locally – mainly through property taxes. This locally-generated source of funding is also flat due to Ohio House Bill 920, which prevents schools from collecting additional revenue as home values increase over time.
In addition to voting for a March levy, the board has discussed the intention to look into options for increasing transparency and community involvement, through community advisory groups, one of which would focus specifically on school funding issues and advocacy at the state level.
Dr. Crouse said that the facility needs that were addressed in the failed bond levies in November will be on hold for the foreseeable future. Crouse said in the release, “Our school facility needs as presented earlier this year still remain and will eventually need to be addressed.” She added that the board will not be placing any levy on the ballot for facilities in November of 2020.
The master plan that is shelved outlined a new campus at Grailville for all Pre-K through fifth-grade students. It included repairs, renovations, and additions to the Middle School/Intermediate School and High School campuses. The money would also have been used for upgraded building security at all schools with secure entrances, camera systems, and electronically-activated locks. It included upgraded and expanded science and technology laboratories for biotechnology and robotics, among others. Included in the master plan was a new auditorium/fine arts center at the high school. The current auditorium would have been repurposed as academic space. The master plan also included upgrades and enhancements to athletic facilities at both the Middle and High Schools. Architects hired by the District developed the budget for the total project ($165 M).
Below is the Resolution that was delivered to the Hamilton County Board of Elections with the ballot language.
The District has provided this way to most accurately calculate the cost of the March levy to property owners:
To find the appraised value, referred to as “Market Value,” go to “Tax Distributions” in the right column.
To find the appraised value, go to “Values” in the left column.
To find the appraised value, see “Value History” in the left column. The appraised value will be listed as the “True Value.”
$35,000 x .00695*= $243.25/annually, or 243.25÷12=$20.27/monthly*.00695 equals the millage rate of 6.95.