Ontario Schools Facing 'Devastating' Cutbacks If Levy Fails

  • 9/17/2019 9:11:27 AM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

ONTARIO, OHIO - On November 5, voters will decide on the issues that matter most to their communities, making their voices heard in order to help shape the future of their areas.

On this particular ballot, however, the Ontario Local Schools District will be presenting a new 6.9-mill, 5-year operating levy in order to help keep the school system an excellent learning environment.

The last Ontario Local Schools levy was passed in 2006, more than 13 years ago.

In that time, the school's funding situation has changed dramatically, especially with the closure of Ontario's General Motors plant in 2010 and the elimination of the Tangible Personal Property tax (TPP) in Ohio.

To help offset the loss of the TPP tax, the State of Ohio provided funding reimbursements to help keep school districts from facing a financial crisis.

Those reimbursements are quietly being phased out and will be gone completely by the beginning of the next school year. If the school's new levy doesn't pass, the district will be forced to make cuts.

"This levy is critical to maintain everything that we have here in our school district," said Lisa Carmichael, Ontario Schools Superintendent. "Right now, we are in need of about $1.9 million annually to maintain all of our services and programs. We do have a reduction plan that is in place if the levy should fail in November."

"I will tell you - those reductions, if we did have to implement those, would be devastating to our school district. We are at risk of losing our school resource officer, we are at risk of dramatically changing transportation in our school distric, we would no longer be transporting students grades 9 through 12," Carmichael added. "I would be remiss if I didn't share that we have an overall $18 million budget. If we cut $1.9 million from our budget, it would have dramatic effects on not only every employee in our district, but also on our students. We're asking for this money to maintain everything that we have."

According to a "fast facts" sheet put together by Ontario Local Schools, the levy will reportedly generate $1,935,000 for the district annually, with funding from that levy providing support for athletics, band and music programs, school clubs, and up-to-date teaching materials and technology.

The levy would cost residents $20 per month per $100,000 of their home market value for the first two years, after which the cost would decrease to just $7 per month per $100,000 of home market value for the next three years.

For more information, visit OntarioSchools.org.

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