MU seeks levy renewal

By Cecilia Fox -

WEST MILTON — Voters in West Milton and Union Township will be asked to consider renewing a 10.89 mill levy for the Milton-Union schools.

“It’s no new money and no increase in taxes,” Superintendent Brad Ritchey said. The levy will appear as Issue 6 on the ballot.

This operating levy generates approximately $1.7 million for the district. Operating funds can be used to support the district in many ways, including salaries, technology and textbook purchases, and more.

“We use it for all kinds of things, student transportation, extracurricular activities, instructional supplies,” he said.

This levy provides approximately 12.6 percent of the district’s annual revenue, Ritchey said. Locally generated dollars from current levies provide roughly 48.3 percent of yearly revenue.

“The state funds the district at approximately 51.7 percent. In the future, we expect state funding to, at best, plateau and probably decrease, so local support is critical,” he added.

The levy has historically enjoyed community support, passing by nearly 60 percent in past years, Ritchey said. The levy was first passed in 2002 and this would be its third renewal if the voters approve it in November.

“We certainly do not take this for granted,” he added. “If this was to go down, that would be a bigger message about general satisfaction with the district. And we are not hearing those things.”

This levy is the third in a three-levy renewal cycle, after which voters will have a break from seeing school levies on the ballot, said. The district has two operating levies and a permanent improvement levy.

While it generates necessary funding, the district has been reluctant to make the levy a continuing levy, Ritchey said.

“We get the sense that our community is kind of used to these cycles and they like the idea of being able to vote on renewals,” he explained. “Our community seems to like it when we ask. The drawback is we’re always on the ballot.”

Should the levy fail, the district would have to consider making serious cuts.

“To carve that out of our budget would be significant,” Ritchey said. “It would mean deep cuts.”

By Cecilia Fox

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