Serving nearly 8,000 students at eight buildings in Greene and Montgomery Counties, Beavercreek City Schools is going to the ballot on November 6 in its fourth attempt to pass an emergency operating levy.
The District reports that its state funding declined by 30 percent in a single year. According to figures compiled at CutsHurtOhio.com, the district lost $7.1 million in the last state budget — a budget that cut $1.8 billion from school districts across the state.
Facing state funding cuts, swollen enrollments and three failed levy attempts, Beavercreek schools have already reduced spending by $13 million over the past 18 months, including $4 million in employee salary cuts and increased healthcare contributions. 65 full time staff and 25 intervention tutors were let go.
Those staffing reductions go directly to the quality of education children receive. The district axed its program to help struggling kindergarteners, eliminated Advanced Placement classes, reduced elementary art, music and phys-ed, gift programs and terminated the librarians in elementary in middle schools. Pay to play fees for music and athletics were increased.
Busing has already been eliminated at the high school level and reduced for middle schoolers to those that live more than 2 miles from school. It prompted one parent to tell the Dayton Daily News:
“All I know is, I’m paying all this money and my kid doesn’t have a bus,” said parent Julie Jackson, who estimated this levy would cost her family $584 annually. “We’re definitely not getting raises that are meeting up with all these increases — not just from the district but from the whole economy. I don’t feel that I can vote for this levy again.”
In November, the District is seeking a 5-year, 6.7-mill emergency operating levy that would raise $11 million annually and represent an increase of $205 per year on the tax bill of a $100,000 home. Of the 6.7-mills it’s requesting, the district says 2 mills are needed just to make up for the loss of state funding. That means $61 of that tax increase can be directly linked to the Governor who balanced the state budget by cutting education.
If the levy passes, cuts to bus transportation, gifted programs, tutoring and elementary art, music and phys-ed would be restored.
But if the majority of voters agree with Ms. Jackson and the levy fails, without additional revenue, the district faces deficits and will need to reduce operating costs further, almost certainly in a way that directly impacts the quality of education district kids receive.