Bellbrook’s Operating Levy Postponed for Now

by Sarah Bevelhymer

“What many people don’t realize is that the people that will truly be harmed by a levy failure are the students themselves,” Mark Carreira said, a history and government teacher at Bellbrook High School. 

Voters will cast their vote on the passage of a $5.7 million operating levy for the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District. The levy will fund day to day operations such as staffing, utilities, transportation, and supplies. Governor DeWine postponed elections to June for now, but voters can still request and send mail-in ballots.

According to the district page, the passage of the levy would increase property taxes by about $16.60 per month per $100,000 home market value. David Graham, Greene County Auditor, estimates that property tax bills will increase by 8% and residents’ property tax values will increase by about 12% during the reappraisal process. This would generate about $3.3 million annually for the school.

The last levy passed for the district was in 2015. In May 2019, the levy failed which lead to Phases I and II of reductions. Other reductions were also made in the Summer of 2018. 

Phase III of reductions will take place regardless of the passage of the levy. These reductions include the elimination of the STEP Gifted program from Bell Creek, the world language program from the middle school, and one high school English teacher. Sports fees will increase to $200 a sports season and $50 of band and guard fees will go directly to the district. All-day daily kindergarten tuition will increase by $900 a year and the open positions in 2nd and 3rd grades will be filled with involuntary transfers. The district will not resurface parking lots or mulch, and no Chromebooks will be purchased. 

Phase IV reductions will take place only if the levy fails. Reductions include increasing sports fees to $300 per sports season with no caps for families. The district will eliminate high school busing, art and stem at elementary schools, keyboarding at the middle school, 6th grade art and 1 English, social studies, and science teacher at the high school. The medical classes will be outsourced to the Greene County Career Center. The district will reduce to 2 librarians and eliminate 85 paid supplemental and athletic positions. They will also reduce staff development, delay curriculum adoptions in math and science, non-renew select electronic subscriptions, and non-renew the contract with the communications consultant. 

“After the implantation of both phase I and II reductions, with an already lean budget, introducing more reductions as a result of another loss at the ballot will hurt the quality of education we can offer and strike at the core of our school,” Dr. Douglas Cozad said, superintendent of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District.

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