Butler Co. school district faces cuts after third failed levy try in a row

A financial audit shows Ross Local Schools will be have a negative cash balance by 2025 without millions in cuts.
Ross levy fails again
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 6:15 PM EDT
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ROSS, Ohio (WXIX) - The Ross Local School District’s levy failed at the ballot box Tuesday night, marking the third consecutive school levy Ross voters have rejected.

The 9.44 mills levy failed with 59 percent voting against it.

“We weren’t surprised,” said Butler County Auditor Nancy Nix, who claims inflation is the reason the levy did not pass. “In 2020, Butler County experienced a 20 percent increase in property evaluations, and just Monday, we found out Butler County will be experiencing a 42 percent increase in evaluations for residential properties. So people are aware.”

[Loveland, Forest Hills pass controversial school district levies]

The district’s five-year forecast shows total expenditures rose above total revenues in 2019, and the financing gap will only continue to grow. The district projects to have a negative cash balance by 2025 with a projected cumulative deficit of $13 million in 2027.

The fixed-sum levy would have created annual revenue to stem those losses, according to a district work session hosted April 12. Without it, the district must cut $4 million in spending over the next two years.

A performance audit recommends eliminating some teachers, library and cafeteria staff, nurses services and administrator positions.

The district can repeat the levy request in November.

“I’m sure they will be back at a lesser amount because of the high evaluations,” Nix said, “and I do know that schools need money, like everyone else”

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