Personal thoughts on Issue 4 –

Loveland Schools 4.9 mill operrating levy

From Kevin Dougherty

LOVELAND, OH (October 4, 2022) – Some of you are aware I joined our public-school board in 2020 on the heels of the failed 2019 / 2020 levies. 

Kevin Dougherty, VP Loveland Schools Boasrd of Education (File)

Fiscal stability and re-establishing community trust has ruled the day over these 2 years.  Outside of Board meetings, I’ve been relatively quiet on the upcoming levy question we all are being asked to decide next Tuesday.  These are my thoughts as a private citizen, but there is no denying the special perspective the role has provided me.

I’m a retired corporate executive and I’ve tried to bring what I learned over the years to this role – simply a bottom line, fact based, “levelheaded” approach to the many issues faced by the schools and the community. 

I’m not here to convince you to vote for the levy – I know you will make a personal decision for your household.  I’ve decided to vote in favor of it and here’s a brief recap of my thinking:

    • Our schools are one of only 12 districts in the state (out of over 600) to have achieved Ohio’s top tier of educational performance.
    • The total cost per student of running the schools is at the absolute average of all districts in the state. That’s all in … salaries, benefits and other operating costs.

These two points tell me we are getting extraordinary results for just average costs.

    • Property taxes are relatively higher in Loveland – not because the schools are more expensive or wasteful, but because we receive lower state funding than most districts – due to having very high average incomes and property values vs. other districts. Additionally, we are one of the lowest commercialized districts in the state, so homeowners end up paying more of the bill.
    • Under Ohio law, property taxes do not change as we see growth in our home values. That means that while the schools have seen normal increases in operating costs over time, the primary source of revenue to pay them has been largely fixed in place since the last levy was approved in Loveland – 8 years ago.
    • After the failed 2019 / 2020 levies, cost saving measures were instituted including elimination of High School bussing and staffing reductions.
    • The school district plans 85% of the levy to fund the current cost of existing operations. The remaining 15% would fund a return of High School bussing and allowances for a small increase in staffing of 1% over three years, if needed.

I believe that giving kids the best start we can through these schools is critical.  The reputation of the schools is superb and has helped to make Loveland the highly desired place it has become. I think of these schools as a community asset that is important to all of us whether we have kids served by them or not.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and whatever your decision, please get out and vote!

Regards,

Kevin Dougherty

* Kevin Dougherty resides in Loveland and is a current member of the Loveland City Scholl District Board of Education.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter published here is an expression of his personal thoughts and views and not in any way a representation of the views or opinions of the Loveland Schools Board of Education, or any other individual member of the school board.