OPINION: Submitted by Dr. Gregg Tracy
LOVELAND, OH, March 2, 2020 – The current system and laws in regard to funding schools in Ohio are flawed.
The funding system overemphasizes real estate taxes and creates inequality in educational funding across the state. The system has been declared unconstitutional multiple times by the Ohio Supreme Court, most recently in 2002. However, due to inaction by the administrative and legislative branches, the funding system remains law. So school systems, like Loveland, that do not have large commercial and industrial bases, must rely heavily on local, individual real estate taxes in order to operate. Voters are faced with the choice of voting for higher taxes or not providing our public schools with the funds necessary to operate effectively. Our schools simply cannot be effective in preparing current and future students without the essential funds to operate.
Even as assessed property values increase, no new monies are generated for schools. Thus operating funds are fixed while operating costs increase. New levies are regularly and
periodically necessary. It is a reality in Ohio. Excellent schools depend on good administration, teaching, and community participation, but schools just cannot perform effectively without periodic tax levies.
It is easy to say, “I do not want to pay more taxes.” It is equally as easy to come up with justifications for voting “no.” Historically, voting against operating levies has not been a strategy that has facilitated any positive change. It is a weak substitute for dialogue and cooperative participation in a meaningful process aimed at changing and improving schools. Without necessary funds, schools cannot operate effectively, let alone have opportunities to change and improve. With needed funds, Loveland’s consistent excellence will continue to benefit students and the community. Loveland’s board and administration, have established a number of ways to learn, cooperate and participate in the school improvement process. Administration is accessible, public meetings have been held and will continue, printed materials have been sent regularly, and online communications are available. The leadership team has been very clear about the district’s needs and financial status.
As our school board asks for additional operating funds in March, they are not asking for money for building or adding programs. They are simply asking for operating funds to continue the quality education that Loveland has been providing over time. The board has committed to keeping expense growth to less than 3% through fiscal year 2024.
As a concerned citizen, I encourage you to make an informed decision in March based on an understanding of the need based on Ohio’s funding system and the recognition of the importance of your vote for our community. Public schools are one of our community’s vital organizations. As you make your decision in March, I hope you have gone directly to the source and not relied on hearsay and negative campaigns. I hope that you have directly accessed information sources made available by the district’s leadership team. I also hope that you consider our students and the short term and long term effects of your vote. Summarily, I hope you cast a concerned and informed vote on March 17.
– Dr. Gregg Tracy
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Tracy is a Loveland resident and property owner, a Loveland High School Graduate, a retired professor of leadership, and former school administrator.
The viewpoint reflected in the above letter is strictly representative of the personal views of Dr. Gregg Tracy. The Loveland Beacon encourages ALL readers to research the facts to make an informed decision by visiting the Loveland Schools website Levy Information Page.