Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools Prepares for March Ballot Issue
Recent budget reductions total more than $2.3 million; district faces drastic cuts without levy passage
After further deliberation and input, the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School Board of Education took the second of two necessary votes at the December 3 board meeting to place a 5.7-mill operating levy on the March 17, 2020 presidential primary ballot. The passage of this operating levy will help fund the district’s day-to-day operations, such as staffing, utilities, transportation and supplies.
Following the failure of the May 2019 ballot issue, the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District Board of Education and district leadership team began identifying additional cuts and reductions that the district would have to make. Staff reductions in the summer of 2018 before the May 2019 ballot issue and Phase I and II after the failure of the ballot issue have totaled more than $2.3 million and include the reduction of 20 staff positions, half of which were teaching positions.
“Our community spoke and we listened; residents wanted us to make additional cuts and reductions before returning to the ballot,” said Superintendent Dr. Cozad. “Deciding on and making cuts is never easy and these are not decisions that we took lightly. We did what we could to make sure the cuts had the least impact on the classroom but, at the end of the day, any reductions hurt the overall experience we provide to our residents and their children.”
If passed, the levy will raise just over $3.3 million annually and would cost taxpayers approximately $16.60 per month per $100,000 home market value.
“Our budget is the most critical issue facing our district - this is not a spending issue, this is a revenue issue,” continued Cozad. “After the implementation 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 schools. Now we have done all that we can. We should not let our schools falter due to continued strains to our budget and an unconstitutional public school funding model, but ultimately it is up to the community to decide what kind of schools it wants and I will respect whatever decision our residents make at the ballot in March.”