Ross Local School levy failed Tuesday, but it will be back on November ballot

Ross Local School levy failed Tuesday, but it will be back on November ballot
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 3:25 PM EDT
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ROSS TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Enquirer) - Student-athletes in the Ross schools could begin paying an $825 participation fee following Tuesday’s defeat of an emergency levy, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Unofficial results from the Butler County Board of Elections show the five-year, 7.99-mill levy was rejected by voters on Tuesday with 2,665 opposed and 1,511 in favor, losing by a 63.8 to 36.1% margin. Had it passed, the levy would have raised almost $3.7 million each of the next five years with collections starting in January, the Enquirer reports.

Voters will again see the levy on the Nov. 8 ballot. At a July 8 special meeting, the school board voted unanimously to put the levy on the November ballot if it failed in August.

It did. The Butler County Board of Elections confirmed the district has resubmitted the issue for the November ballot, but it is not yet certified. The deadline for issues on the November ballot is Aug. 10.

District officials said in a statement they were disappointed in the loss, according to the Enquirer. It was the first time since 1999 the district has asked voters to approve a property tax levy. Residents pay a 1.25 percent income tax according to state records.

“We were hopeful for a win but will continue to fight for our students in future levy attempts,’’ the district said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this loss forces us to make deeper cuts to our curriculum, programs, and extracurriculars, which be announced in the near future.”

On its website, the district listed two separate course and participation fee schedules for the upcoming school year – one if the levy passed; the other if it fails.

The schedule for failure shows the athletic fees along with a $140 fee for band, symphonic chorale, and Pure Harmony at the high school and choir and band at the middle school.

Had the levy passed the athletic fee would have been $150 per student with a $300 student cap and $450 family cap. Band, symphonic chorale and Pure Harmony would have been $50 for high school students, along with $50 for middle school students, according to the listing.

Over the last two years, the district has cut about $1.3 million from its budget. But last December, district officials received a precautionary fiscal emergency letter from the Ohio Department of Education about its finances, according to a March letter to the community.

If finances are left unresolved the state could declare the district to be in fiscal emergency and put in place an external group that could cut staff and programs to minimal levels.

The next board of education meeting is set for 6 p.m., Aug. 18 at Ross High School, according to the district website.

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