Bellbrook schools asking residents for additional tax money on May ballot

SUGARCREEK TWP., Greene County — Ahead of a projected $3 million deficit within the next few years, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local Schools will be turning to voters to ask for a replacement levy to help the district maintain its current operations, the school’s superintendent said.

“Every year things get a little more expensive so that's one piece of it,” said Doug Cozad, Bellbook-Sugarcreek schools superintendent.  “Really the state funding model from the state is very inadequate. Bellbrook gets about 27 percent of our funding from the state. The state average is about 44 percent."

The replacement levy if passed would cost property owners an additional $211 annually per $100,000 appraised value of property, the Greene County Auditor’s Office said.

Stephanie Martin lives in the township and said she is hesitant when it comes to the thought of additional taxes, but admits how she votes on this levy is a complicated decision.

"I can see where it would be beneficial to the school,” Martin said.  “I have school aged children. I want them to have the best education possible, but I didn't buy out here thinking this was going to happen.”

The levy will appear on the May 7 primary ballot.

The Bellbrook and Sugarcreek Twp. community has seen a recent boom in housing developments, with hundreds of new homes being constructed or planned along Upper Bellbrook, Little Sugarcreek and Swigart roads. Another proposed development on Wilmington-Dayton Road has not yet been approved by township trustees.

Cozad said the district is monitoring the housing growth in the community, but said this levy is not funding the building of any new schools.

“We are getting full at our schools. We are not at capacity yet. That's something obviously we're keeping a close eye on,” Cozad said.  “These funds are all for current operating expenses just to continue the great things we're already doing."

Cozad said the district was already able to trim approximately $500,000 from the budget this past summer and had hoped to avoid going to voters to ask for additional funds.

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