Centerville City Schools talk of financial woes, teacher cuts resonates with residents

CENTERVILLE — Talk of a constrained budget and proposed teacher cuts for Centerville City Schools were topics on the minds of some city residents Wednesday night.

Residents turned out to hear the district’s proposal to cut more than 40 positions.

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The listening session, which includes two presentations and several informal meetings to discuss school finances and possible next steps for additional district funding was held in the auditorium at Cline Elementary.

“I think I would be OK with” paying more in taxes for the district, city resident Rachel Duvall told News Center 7. “Just king of thinking about the long-term effects of that obviously would depend” on how much the district would ask for should the question be added to the ballot this November.

Hearing that the district cannot make any budget adjustments until 2026 strains the system, Duvall said. “I think them not, you know, adding anything for two more years, I think could have a pretty drastic impact on students.”

Duvall said she’s thinking about the teachers and staff that would be affected by district budget cuts and how that’s going to affect current and future students.

The school district last November proposed a 5.9-mill levy for voters to consider. It would raise $12.9 million for operating expenses (5.2 mills) and permanent improvements (0.7 mills).

Four months later, the district proposed yet another revenue question for the ballot, this one a 3.9 mill levy, to raise $11.2 million for district operations. The March levy would have increased property taxes and cost a homeowner $137 a year per appraised home valued at $100,000, according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office.

Voters rejected both.

In the aftermath, the district in January announced that 41 teachers have to be laid off through phased reductions and that there will be no budget increase for the 2025 school year.

There are more than 8,000 students and more than 1,100 teachers and support staff in the district.

The last time voters approved additional funding for Centerville schools was 2019.

“With the way schools are funded in Ohio, the need for additional funding will not go away, even with the reductions we are making for the 2024-25 school year,” district Superintendent Jon Wesney said via a social media post.

“Our district receives a very small amount of state funding, so we are reliant on local property taxes for the largest portion of our school funding. On top of that, the amount we receive each year from locally voted levies is frozen because of state law. This means our revenue remains relatively flat, so as costs increase, we’re faced with continuing to make significant cuts or asking voters to approve additional funding in order to maintain quality educational programming and services.”

There are several community engagement events scheduled for the rest of July, according to the district’s announcements via social media. One such event is to be held Thursday, July 11, at Weller Elementary, 9600 Sheehan Road, at 5 p.m.

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