by Juliet Tissot
The Loveland school levy we will vote on November 5 is one of the largest in Ohio state history at $165 million! We are told it is “needed” because the current K-5 buildings are old and outdated. They are old, this is true, but there are many buildings in the city that are even older and still being used for education with wildly successful results.
Juliet Tissot lives in Miami Trails
Even if we all agreed the K-5 buildings need to be replaced we could still cut this levy almost in half to pay for them. $77 million of the current $165 million levy is going to the high school and middle school which are less than half as old as the K-5 buildings. According to the superintendent, the upgrades to the HS and MS will include $10 million in athletic upgrades and the auditorium alone will cost $5 million.
Enrollment hasn’t increased much in the Loveland City School district over the last 10 years. As a matter of fact, in 2007-2008 enrollment at the high school was 1,428 students and in 2017-2018, ten years later, enrollment at the high school was 1,400 students. Why all of a sudden is there a “space issue” that needs to be addressed immediately?
The upgrades to the middle school involve skylights, office upgrades, and athletic upgrades. When people will literally be taxed out of their homes, these upgrades to the high school and middle school should wait. They are luxuries, not needs.
There has been a lot of criticism of those who say they will be taxed out of their homes if this monstrous school levy passes: comments about how people should budget better or buy a smaller home or sacrifice a raise to cover this tax. I find those comments troubling. These people, who I have talked to personally, are young families just starting out, retired folks on a fixed income who have supported the district for decades and single moms who struggle daily. They are part of Tiger Nation too and they have more value than any turf field, skylight or auditorium ever could.
According to 2018 data from the Ohio Department of Education, 13% of Loveland school district’s student body is on the free or reduced lunch program. Do you think they should pay for skylights or $10 million athletic upgrades or a $5 million auditorium?
According to the census bureau (2017), 9.97% of Loveland lives in poverty. That amounts to 1,027 people. Does Tiger Nation value them at all?
According to the food pantry, 300 local families rely on them for assistance with groceries every month. How are they expected to pay for the “wants” in this levy?
When the schools’ 2018 operating budget ends the year with a $3 million surplus it is unreasonable of the board to now ask for a 45.2% increase in operating funds from the taxpayers?
A NO VOTE November 5th is not a vote against the schools, the teachers or the children. It is a fiscally responsible vote that simply tells the board to try again because Tiger Nation values all its members and $49/month per $100,000 value of your home for 37 years is way too much. We should not thumb our noses at the less fortunate just because we want nice stuff. If the board focused on needs that improve education this levy would pass just like the other 15+ PERMANENT levies we are currently paying on to the tune of $60 million a year.