DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — If you live in the Vandalia-Butler school district, you’ll see a tax levy on the ballot this May.
It’s a one percent earned income tax increase, and school officials say it would generate badly needed funds.
Superintendent Rob O’Leary says this all has to do with the district’s five-year plan. at current funding levels, he says the district won’t make it across the finish line.
“We show a deficit in year three of our five year forecast. so obviously, there’s a need to, you know, do something.” Vandalia-Butler schools district superintendent Rob O’Leary told us.
O’Leary says the district’s 5-year plan is coming up short for several reasons… including a lack of funding and the impact of inflation.
He also says this levy has been in the works for months, the district wanted to ask voters for help last November but the board voted to wait. Because of the expected impact of Ohio’s fair school funding plan, O’Leary says the district is still waiting to see any of that money.
District leaders understand this is one of the largest levy proposals in the past decade… but they say it’s critical.
If passed, money generated by the levy would help the district keep successful programs in place and by choosing income tax and not property tax, it allows for more financial flexibility.
“With the current inflation that’s going on that is far exceeded. So, it was an important decision to go with that earned income tax because that can grow during inflationary times, because as people’s incomes go up, it increases. But also, as people endure certain job losses or reduction in hours, that’s also reduced them as well, where with a property tax they start to pay the same amount of money.” Eric Beavers, Vandalia-Butler schools district Treasurer and CFO said.
O’Leary says a lack of state funding is also driving the need for the levy. He says Vandalia-Butler schools is one of the lowest funded districts in the area and sits below the state average.
Revenue projections aren’t matching up with reality though, creating the funding shortfall.
“Well, looks like there’s that wealth and that revenue. we’re not seeing the, you know, the full benefit of that. so it’s getting viewed or reported as, you know, having the wealth. but at the same time, we don’t get it and then we get, you know, money taken from us, from the you know, in the per student funding from the state level. so it’s a double edged sword. It’s a very challenging thing. you know, very, very challenging,” O’Leary added.