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Voters approve Forest Hills school tax levy during May 2 election

Forest Hills levy
Posted at 11:10 PM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-02 23:39:53-04

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Residents in the Forest Hills School District voted to approve a school tax combination levy on Tuesday's ballot. While numbers are unofficial, it appears the levy passed with just under 53% of the vote.

The Forest Hills Board of Education unanimously approved a 6.9-mill combination levy, which includes a 5.4-mill operating levy and a 1.5-mill permanent improvement levy, in January to deal with rising costs, inflation and revenue simply not keeping up. The levy means homeowners' property taxes will go up an additional $20.13 per month for a home valued at $100,000.

RELATED | Forest Hills parents push for voters to approve district's levy on May ballot

District leaders, parents and students spoke in support of the levy in the weeks leading up to the election, with few expressing their opposition publicly.

"I appear to be the lone voice of opposition," Kevin Misiak said during a board of education meeting in April.

Misiak spoke about teachers' salaries being higher than multiple districts in the Tri-State and seemed skeptical about how the district was going to use the money. He implied the district would use it on raising staff salaries.

"Where is the money going? Is it going to the children? No. Are the teachers going to sacrifice? No," said Misiak.

Superintendent Larry Hook said the money from the "permanent improvements" portion of the levy will be used for maintaining and repairing buildings, and staying up to date with school technology.

"(The permanent improvement levy is) not spent on salaries, and it's not spent on operations, it's spent on the investment that this community has made in nine school buildings and three district buildings," said Hook.

The operating levy will be used for things like staff salaries and operations. If the levy had not passed, officials said the worst-case scenario would include some employees losing their jobs.

Even with the levy's approval, the district said it still has to cut $750,000 from next year's budget.

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