MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- Members of the Middletown school board decided Monday to hold off voting on a resolution to join six other Butler County school districts in an effort to get voters to approve a new school security tax.
The Middletown Board of Education tabled the issue of joining the Butler County school financing district in order to consider their priorities and a strategy for the district.
"On both sides of the debate, there are good things about this," board president Chris Urso said. "There are also some things of concern."
The school safety levy would fund a variety of items, including school resource officers, building entrance security, counselors and mental health services, according to an announcement from district officials.
School leaders in Hamilton, Fairfield, New Miami, Monroe, Ross and Edgewood have already favored proceeding with the plan to form a county school financing district under a new Ohio law that allows school districts to cooperate on tax levies funding school safety and mental health. The 10-year, 1.5-mill levy issue would be decided by voters in the participating communities in the November election.
Middletown's Monday night indecision was tied to a lack of consensus about what, exactly, school safety in the district ought to look like. Armed officers? Frequent drills? Plastic backpacks or metal detectors?
"I think it's traumatizing for my first graders to go through an active shooter drill," teacher Susie Lane said. "To zig-zag down the hallway so that bullets miss you."
Perry Davis, whose grandchildren attend school in the district, disagreed.
"However you train in a situation, when it happens, that's exactly what you're going to do in real life," he said.
If Middletown is going to join the other school districts, they have a limited amount of time to act. The deadline to submit local ballot questions in Ohio this year is Aug. 8.
"I keep thinking, 'Don't wait too long,'" board member Anita Scheibert said. "(Gun violence) visits places where you never think it's going to visit, and it's a frightening situation to think our teachers or our children would be in."
Read the full resolution below: