BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek City School District officials are once again asking voters to approve a 6 mill, $10.4 million substitute emergency levy to continue regular day-to-day operations at the schools.
Issue 17, which is the same levy that narrowly failed in the May 2 special election, is absolutely necessary for the school district, according to officials.
Superintendent Paul Otten said voters should not be deterred by the title — “emergency levy” — because the school is not in the state of emergency and alternatively, the levy is a “very normal levy” for a school district to utilize.
Dollars generated from the levy, which amounts to approximately 13 percent of the district’s operating revenue, would fund necessary day-to-day expenses for the schools such as utilities, bus fuel, classroom supplies, technology and personnel. In simple terms, it would maintain the status quo.
If passed, the renewal tax levy would not increase taxes for existing residents and businesses. Without any additions, taxpayers would continue to pay an estimated $210 per year for each $100,000 of appraised property value.
“We are not asking for new dollars,” Otten said. “It does not bring in new programs for the school district. It just maintains the current level of services for kids and the community.”
According to officials, more growth for Beavercreek is coming and the school district is trying to prepare for it, while at the same time responding to what growth the city has already seen.
“This levy really positions not only the school district well but also positions the community well. Because we anticipate, we know, there is some significant growth that is going to be taking place over the next five to 10 years, this levy allows the district to receive the growth from those residential and commercial developments that might be coming into the community,” Otten said. “The reason we like this type of levy is because it will allow us the growth and we won’t have to go back to voters often … It’s a win-win for the school district and a win-win for the community.”
The levy would substitute the emergency levy that voters originally passed in November 2013, set to expire in December 2018. If approved, the revenue collection would begin in January 2019. It is permanent, meaning it would not have to be renewed.
Otten said the reason for the permanence is because of the large dollar amount on the levy. The money will always be needed, today and in the future, and it also allows for anticipated growth.
If the levy fails, Otten said he’ll take the issue back to voters again in the next May election.
Ultimately, if the levy never passes after multiple attempts, $10.4 million will be cut from the schools’ budget. According to the superintendent, the schools would see significant reductions in everyday services.
“We are a service-oriented business. We provide service to kids with people. When you start making significant reductions, staff and kids are dramatically impacted — that’s the reality of it. Hopefully we don’t find ourselves there,” Otten said.
Beavercreek Schools Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Penny Rucker said voters have the opportunity Nov. 7 to stop that from happening.
“I want voters to know that they’re serious services. We do have a special education program that we’re known for — those are very serious services along with our regular student population services,” Rucker said. “I think the voters are very proud of this school. They take pride in the school and want the same level of services that we currently have — they can do that by voting ‘yes’.”
Otten and Rucker argue that when the schools hurt, the community hurts, too.
“When you talk to people about Beavercreek — people that move here — their response is that they move here for the school district … a district really defines a community,” Otten said. “This levy not only maintains and keeps our school district strong, but it also keeps our community strong.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.