Oak Hills voters pass school levy

CINCINNATI –  The second time was a charm for the Oak Hills School District levy.

After voters rejected it in May, they passed the five-year, 4.82-mill levy Tuesday and prevented another round of deep budget cuts.

The vote was 57 percent for and 43 percent against - a swing of 12 percent from last May, when the levy failed 55 percent to 45 percent vote.

“The passage of this school levy is an incredible testament to what the Oak Hills community believes about kids and the importance of education,” superintendent Todd Yohey said in a statement.

“On behalf of the Board of Education and every student in our district I want to thank the community for its positive vote. Responsible spending with excellent results was a theme during the campaign and we pledge to continue that in our daily operations.

“It is important to thank our community of supporters … Words cannot really define how grateful we are to our volunteers, but thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The owner of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $145.34 in taxes a year.  That homeowner already pays about $900 per year.

The levy will raise $5.275 million per year.

If Tuesday’s vote in Delhi and Green Townships had gone against them, Oak Hills officials said they would have been forced to cut 46 teachers in a $2.9 million budget slashing. According to their website, that would have meant:

> Eliminating 20 teaching positions at the high school and 24 at the middle schools.

> Increasing class sizes at all levels.

> Increasing pay to participate fees by $75 per student per sport with no family cap.

> Eliminating one administrator at the high school and one school psychology assistant.

> Eliminating some custodial positions and cleaning classrooms less frequently.

District officials appealed to voters by pointing out that Oak Hills had not asked for a levy since 1997 and that the district, which had received the highest statewide ratings of Excellent and Excellent with Distinction through the years, provided a good education for a low price.

Oak Hills said it had the third lowest tax rate in Hamilton County.

But Oak Hills said it lost nearly $7 million in state revenue since 2009 and had to cut $1.3 million to balance its 2013-2014 budget after the May levy defeat. That was on top of $3 million in cuts in 2012-13.

Since the state funds started drying up, the district said it cut 23 administrators and froze pay – two years for staff and three years for administrators .

Nevertheless, district officials said they still had to dig deep into cash reserves to maintain current courses and class sizes.

The Oak Hills district has nine schools with 8,158 students – including 2,656 at the high school.

Get complete election results at  http://www.wcpo.com/county-by-county-election-results


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