BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – As early voting for the General Election is now underway, Bellbrook and Sugarcreek Township residents are voting on a 5.7-mill levy that would help fund their school district. It is the Bellbrook Board of Education’s third attempt to pass it.

The levy failed in May 2019 and again this past March.

Superintendent, Dr. Doug Cozad said if it passes this time, they’ll reinstate the Phase four reductions like K-5 Art and high school bussing. If not, he said they won’t have to make any additional cuts immediately but will feel the effect soon.

“It shifts the focus of our decision making from education first and finance second to finances and budget as the first priority and education as the second priority which is bothersome to me,” said Cozad. “However, it’s the financial reality we’re in.”

He said the proposed 5.7-mill levy would raise $3.3 million a year and would fund the day-to-day operations such as staffing, utilities, transportation, maintenance and supplies.

But John Stafford helps organize the group opposing the levy. He said they’re trying to protect vulnerable homeowners.

“It has united both Republicans and Democrats who are reaching across the aisle saying enough is enough,” said Stafford. “The property taxes are just out of control, it’s forcing senior citizens and young families out of their homes.”

Josh and Diana Pressnell co-chair the Pro-levy PAC and told 2 NEWS the tax burden for Bellbrook – Sugarcreek Township residents is comparatively low to similar communities while the median income is well above the average.

“The lowest fifty percent in terms of property values are all going to be paying under $33 a month under this proposed levy,” said Josh Pressnell.

The school district said they’ve already implemented four phases of reductions totaling $4.8 million and reduced the staff by 11 percent, meanwhile it continues to be a combative issue in the community.

“We have a $31 million budget for 2,650 students,” said Stafford. “That’s more than enough money to finance the school system.”

“We want to insure that our children and children of this community have the best opportunities that can be provided to them, and that means the school has to have the money it needs to provide those opportunities,” said Diana Pressnell.

For more information from Bellbrook Sugarcreek Schools, click here.

For more information on the Pro-Levy PAC, click here.

For more information on the group opposing the levy, click here.