Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School Superintendent discusses levy over coffee

Local News

BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – Thursday morning, the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School Superintendent held a community meeting to talk about an upcoming levy after the previous levy failed and forced the district to make cuts.

Superintendent Dr. Doug Cozad said this is a different levy and will cost residents less, but said if it doesn’t pass when it’s on March’s ballot, further budget cuts would have to be made.

One of the participants in Thursday’s community coffee meeting was Wendy Dyer, who said she moved to Bellbrook three and a half years ago and has no kids in the school system.

She said she wanted to go to the “Coffee with a Superintendent” because her now-grown kids went to public school so she knows how a good school district benefits the whole community.

“There’s many things in this world, like hopefully I’ll never have a fire and I will never have to use the services of a fire department, but I pay for it because if I ever need it it’s there, and also if my neighbor needs it, if society needs it, and one day I might need the EMS services,” said Dyer.

Dyer represents the people Cozad said he is trying to reach, those who are not parents of current students.

He said after a 7.5 mil levy was voted down last May, they were forced to make cuts.

“We made about $1.8 million in reductions and a piece of that was a 0% pay freeze for all of our staff for next school year,” said Cozad. “We also reduced 20 staff members, and 10 of those are teachers.”

The district voted to put a new 5.7 mil operating levy on the upcoming March ballot and Cozad said it will provide the district a few hundred thousand dollars more than the previous proposed levy.

“That will raise approx $3.3 million and that will go to fund the day-to-day operations of the school district, and really without those additional funds, it will start to really strike at the core of our schools,” said Cozad.

During the discussion, Dyer and other attendees asked what that could mean, and they said it could entail losing AP classes, increase class sizes and the pay-to-participate fees.

“What I was told is that right now it’s $150 per sport and a $600 family max,” said Dyer. “That’s probably pretty reasonable and I hope they don’t have to change that.”

Next, the district will have a community meeting on February 3 where the Greene County Auditor, David Graham, will explain property taxes, and school representatives will talk about the levy and have a Q&A session.

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