School levies on ballot in Bethel, Tipp City


By Cecilia Fox - cfox@civitasmedia.com



MIAMI COUNTY — On the ballot May 2 are three levies from two local school districts, Tipp City Exempted Village Schools and Bethel Local Schools.

Both districts are asking voters to approve renewal levies — for Bethel they appear on the ballot as Issues 5 and 6, and in Tipp City as Issue 4.

The first of Bethel’s levies, an operating levy, is set at 7 mills, which would generate about $1 million. The second, a 2-mill permanent improvement levy, would generate around $200,000 per year.

“Without these two no new tax renewals, our general budget funds will be depleted within 28 months,” Bethel Superintendent Ginny Potter said.

Potter said the renewal of those levies is crucial because, if Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget is approved in its current form, the district is facing more cuts in state funding.

The 7-mill levy generates funds for the general management of the school district, Potter said, including costs associated with curriculum, supplies, furniture, maintenance, transportation and staff salaries.

“The $200,000 acquired through the capital improvement levy is used for building repairs, which are costly due to maintaining a 100-year-old building,” she added.

While the district is nearing the completion date for its new high school wing, it has also been putting capital improvement dollars to work on its older buildings. Money from that levy has been used to upgrade the elementary school library, replace crumbling lintels and repair sub-floors, improve the baseball fields and refurbish the high school gym.

Because the district is growing at a rapid pace as more families move into the Carriage Trails subdivision, failure to pass the levies would “cause a huge burden for the district to meet the educational needs of our students,” Potter said.

Tipp City Schools

In Tipp City, Issue 4, a seven year, 13.9-mill renewal levy, is a combination of two previous levies. The levy generates about 26 percent of the district’s operating budget — $5.6 million each year.

“The thing is, it’s been collecting the same $5.6 million for the last couple years and that’s the ceiling for the next seven years. So we’re not asking for any more money,” levy committee co-chair Jim Heatherly said.

The levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $36 per month.

The money generated by the levy is earmarked for day-to-day operations, which includes teacher and support staff salaries, general maintenance and busing.

Failure to approve this levy in 2017 would result in the permanent loss of the 12.5 percent rollback exemption.

Under the rollback program, the state pays the first 10 percent of the tax bill for all property owners plus 2.5 percent for owner-occupied homes. This program ended in 2013, but still applies to existing levies and their renewals.

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By Cecilia Fox

cfox@civitasmedia.com

Reach Cecilia Fox at cfox@civitasmedia.com.

Reach Cecilia Fox at cfox@civitasmedia.com.