Vote on upcoming tax hike at Ross Schools in August
Additionally, they said budget cuts in recent years totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in programs and staff reductions would not bring Ross to projected fiscal solvency without the influx of more local tax revenue.
“The district has significantly reduced costs over the past two years,” the board members wrote.
“Last year $600,000 was cut, and this year $700,000 was cut. Unfortunately, we are not able to return to financial stability because it is not a problem of expenses, but rather a problem of income.
“The State of Ohio views Ross as a wealthy community. For this reason, they have decreased their contributions and expect residents to fund their schools more aggressively.
Board members said that “the administration has been very open and transparent regarding the current financial situation. They opened their books to the community, using a variety of methods, such as discussion groups, podcasts, a winter newsletter, updates via the district website, and a series of FAQs via social media and e-mail.
Voting for the August tax question will rule out the possibility of state control over Ross schools, they said.
“The District received a Precautionary Tax Emergency Letter from the Ohio Department of Education in December 2021 stating that the revenue issue needs to be resolved. If we are unable to do so, the state will declare the district a tax emergency.
“Once that happens, an external governing body will take control and reduce both staff and programs to the minimum level required and demand a monumental levy. We don’t want that to happen. The damage to the neighborhood would be exponential and would significantly harm the neighborhood, as well as the value of your properties, for many years to come.
A rejection by voters of the proposed tax hike in August, they said, will force further cuts to Ross Schools, which over the past decade have consistently been among the best performing in the southeastern region. western Ohio.
“If the August levy does not pass, the district will be forced to take immediate action. These actions will, unfortunately, cut deeply and cause significant damage to the learning environment. The need for increased income will not go away, but will only increase over time. The levy will reappear on subsequent ballots, and each time the mileage will have to be increased due to the funding delay.
“The last property tax levy was passed in 1999. Over the past 23 years, the district has provided students with an exceptional education, comparable to districts such as Indian Hill, Wyoming and Sycamore, but with far less revenue from our tax base. A small income tax levy was passed in 2019, but it was not substantial enough to support ongoing demands. While we understand tough economic times, nearly every high-performing district in the Cincinnati area has passed significantly more levies than Ross over the same 23-year period. We did well stretching our dollars as long as we did,” the board members said.
Ross officials urged residents seeking more information about the district’s financial situation and the proposed tax levy to visit the district office. website.