Saturday, December 6, 2003

Loveland to vote on combined tax issues

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LOVELAND - Residents will be asked next year to decide on two school levies combined into one ballot tax issue.

The Loveland Board of Education unanimously voted Thursday to place the combination school tax issue on the March 2 ballot.

Loveland Superintendent Kevin Boys said the school board, which had previously considered putting an income tax on the March ballot, "took a long, thoughtful approach to exploring different levy types that would generate the revenue required for the next four to five years" in the 4,200-student district where enrollment has nearly doubled since 1990.

"The board has been responsive to the community and had put forward an issue that I believe people will support once they know the rationale and details," said Boys. His comments referred to a series of public forums this fall to gather residents' opinion in the northern Hamilton County district about possible tax issues.

The school board's action means voters will decide whether to renew a 7-mill continuing operating levy that expires at the end of 2004 and add a new 5-mill permanent improvement levy.

If the two combined taxes are approved, they will allow the district to continue to operate and offer programs that have helped Loveland earn the state's top rating the last two years, as well as provide money for long-term maintenance of the district's six school buildings, bus fleet and technology.

Boys said the approval in March of the combination school tax would mean a $188 annual increase in property taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home.

Loveland is the latest area school district to place a tax issue on Ohio's presidential primary ballot on March 2.

The special election date is one of only three dates - March, August and November - when Ohio school districts can put tax issues on local ballots as compared to previous years when four opportunities were available.

Loveland school parent Mark Fitzgerald said he favors renewing the 7-mill continuing operating levy but is undecided about his stance on the 5-mill permanent improvement portion of the combination tax levy.


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