Yellow Springs will ask voters to reconsider school levy after election rejection

Yellow Springs was the only school district in the region where voters rejected a March 19 tax levy even though it would not have raised the millage rate. Now the district says it plans to ask voters to consider the substitute levy again.

The district asked for a 9-mill substitute school levy, but 55% of voters said no to the request. A substitute levy replaces an existing levy. Current homeowners’ tax rate does not go up, but the school district can see revenue rise in the future if new homes are built. In Yellow Springs’ case, it would have replaced two existing school levies.

In this case, Yellow Springs voters currently pay $315 per $100,000 in appraised property value for the school levies and would have continued to pay that under the substitute levy. The total amount collected on the levy would also have remained the same, at $1.975 million per year, according to the Greene County Auditor’s Office.

Greene County auditor David Graham said those current school levies expire in tax year 2024, which are taxes paid in 2025. The school district could pass a levy anytime during calendar year 2024 or 2025 to continue the two emergency levies without interruption.

Jacob McGrath, Yellow Springs schools treasurer, said the $1.975 million represents about 17.5% of the district’s general operating fund, and 18% of the district’s operating expenses for fiscal year 2024. Operating funds go to items like teacher’s salaries, electric bills and supplies.

McGrath said this was the first of four opportunities to keep the funding the district currently has.

“At this time, there are no plans to make any cuts to our current operations based on the results of the March 2024 election,” McGrath said.

Last fall, Yellow Springs voters approved a 7.9-mill, $26.3 million levy over 37 years and a 1% income tax levy to build new schools.

Yellow Springs plans to renovate the existing Mills Lawn Elementary School and the existing high school and add onto the existing buildings. The project will cost an estimated $55 million, but because the district has some Ohio Facilities Construction Commission money, the local share is about $46 million.

Voters also approved a 1.2 mill renewal for Yellow Springs last fall.

Several school districts that were asking for an increase in tax money were shot down in the March election. Centerville, Franklin and Milton-Union were all seeking new operating funds and were voted down. Tipp City’s bond to build new schools passed, but Warren County Career Center and Greeneview schools, who also asked for new school bonds, did not pass.

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