Oak Hills School District bracing for November levy vote

In May, voters shot down a levy in Oak Hills Local School District. As a result, administrators had to find cuts totaling $3.6 million, and it could happen again come November if the levy is again voted down. 

DELHI TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Officials say if that happens, they'll need to find cuts of $5.8 million over the course of two years.

To do that, school leaders have proposed some reduction in personnel.

"We've tried to stay away from personnel as much as we can, particularly in the classroom, but we no longer have the luxury of keeping the same number of teachers that we have and remain fiscally healthy," said Oak Hills Superintendent Todd Yohey.

The proposed cuts would eliminate 53.5 positions.

Among them, 20 teachers at Oak Hills High School, a total of 24 teachers in the middle schools, 2.5 gifted teachers positions, one administrator position, one psych assistant and five custodial personnel.

"I think the teachers in with the kids is the most critical part.  We need them there as much as we can, and I'd hate to see the class sizes grow to that level," said Linus Ryland, president of the Rapid Run Middle School PTA.

It's been 16 years since Oak Hills has had a levy. After November, it will have happened twice this year.

For a Delhi man, cuts in the classroom just aren't acceptable.

"I don't think it's fair to the kids. If they're going to make cuts, I believe it should be across the board. It shouldn't be just the teachers hurting. I mean, there's higher-ups probably making a lot more money," said Alexander Willis.

The November levy is exactly the same as May's.

It's a 5-year levy for a millage of 4.82 that would generate $5.3 million a year.

"This levy, just like it was in May, is a status quo levy.  It's a levy to generate the revenue needed to allow us to continue doing what we're doing right now," added Yohey.

Another way school officials are looking to generate revenue if the levy fails is raising the pay-to-participate fees.  Fees would jump by $75 for high school and middle school students, bringing the totals to $225 and $200, respectively.

Yohey also noted at Thursday's meeting that more than 80% of the school district's budget is tied up in personnel.

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