Voters passed all five school issues on the ballot in Hamilton County Tuesday. But the largesse didn’t extend to Butler County.
Threatened with dire consequences, Mariemont voters approved a combined 2.5-mill operating levy and 5.75-mill permanent improvement levy. The vote was 54.36 percent to 45.64 percent.
Superintendent Steven Estepp said last week that 29 staff members might lose their jobs without the operating levy.
“We know we’re going to have to implement about $2 million in reductions,” Estepp said. Estepp said the improvement levy would address “infrastructure and systems’ challenges as well as safety and security challenges.
Others school issues passed in Reading (67.02 percent to 32.98), St. Bernard-Elmwood Place (57.60 percent to 42.4) and Winton Woods (59.14 percent to 40.86).
In addition, the Great Oaks Career Campuses renewal passed in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties.
Butler County Voters Reject Multi-School Security Tax
Voters in five school district voted down Southwest Ohio’s first school security tax, the Journal-News reported. To win, the 1.5-mill tax hike needed more than a 50 percent majority in the combined vote total from Hamilton, Fairfield, Edgewood, Monroe and New Miami schools.
The defeat means millions of dollars of funding that would have gone to helping protect school building from violent attacks - and provide mental health counseling – will now have to come from other funding sources in each of the five school systems.
An Ohio law, enacted in March in the wake of deadly school shootings in Florida, Texas and elsewhere, created the new school taxing option that required participating districts to agree to form a taxing district to put the security tax on the ballot.
It faced unprecedented opposition from Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones and a handful of other local public office holders.
Ross Rejection Stuns District Leaders
Voters in Ross Schools rejected a hike in the district’s earned income tax for the first time in nearly two decades, the Journal-News reported.
Voters rejected a 0.5 percent hike to the existing .75 percent income tax by a 53 to 47 percent margin.
The tax was to fund improvements in school security, the restoration of high school busing and other operations in the 2,800-student Ross school system in southwestern Butler County.
“To be honest, we are very surprised,” said Scott Gates, superintendent for Ross Schools.
Other School Votes
Clermont County voters passed school issues in Batavia (50.98 percent to 49.02 percent) and Williamsburg (58.52 percent to 41.48).
In Warren County, Franklin voters approved a school tax levy 56.14 percent to 43.86 percent.