Letter From the Ross Board of Education to the Ross Community

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ROSS BOARD OF EDUCATION
3371 Hamilton Cleves Rd.
Hamilton, OH 45030

April 27, 2022

To our Neighbors in the Ross Community, It is our honor and privilege to serve as leaders of public education in the Ross community. We have a responsibility to work with you- students, families, district staff, school administration, community leaders, local businesses, and residents- to ensure that our children have access to the best education possible.

As many of you know by now, the Ross Local School Board approved a 5-year, 7.99 mill, Emergency Property Tax Levy for the August 2, 2022, ballot. Money generated from this levy will help fund day-to-day operational expenses such as utilities, bus fuel, classroom supplies, and quality staff members. It will cost the taxpayer $279.65 per year on a $100,000 home, or $23.30 per month.

In the past several months, the administration has been very open and transparent in regard to the current financial situation. They have opened their books to the community, using various methods, such as focus groups, podcasts, winter newsletter, updates via the district website, and a series of FAQs through both social media and email.

The district has drastically cut costs during the last two years. Last year $600,000 was cut, and this year $700,000 was cut. Unfortunately, we are not able to cut our way back to financial stability because this is not a spending problem, but rather a revenue problem. The State of Ohio views Ross as a wealthy community. Because of that, they have diminished their contributions and expect residents to more aggressively fund their schools.

The last property tax levy was passed in 1999. For the last 23 years, the district has provided students with a stellar education, comparable to districts such as Indian Hill, Wyoming, and Sycamore, only with much less revenue from our tax base. A small income tax levy was passed in 2019, but that was not substantial enough to bear the ongoing demands. While we understand the difficult economic times, almost all high performing districts in the Cincinnati area have passed many more levies than Ross in the same 23 year period. We have done well stretching our dollars for as long as we have.

The district received a precautionary fiscal emergency letter from the Ohio Department of Education in December 2021 stating that the revenue problem must be fixed. If we are unable to do so, the State will declare the district to be in fiscal emergency. Once that happens, an external governing body will take control and will cut both staff and programs to a minimally required level as well as ask for a monumental levy. We do not want to see that happen. The damage to the district would be exponential and would greatly hinder the district, as well as your property values, for many years to come.

If the August levy does not pass, the district will be forced to take immediate action. These actions will, unfortunately, cut deeply and cause significant damage to the learning environment. The need to increase revenue won't go away but only become greater as time moves on. The levy will reappear on subsequent ballots, and each time the millage will have to be increased due to the lag in funding.

As a Board, and as elected officials, we remain committed to providing the students of Ross Local Schools a stellar education while being financially transparent to our community. We see the value of a thriving school system. If you would like more information or have questions, please contact us at info.rlsd@rossrams.com.

 

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Letter from the Ross Board of Education





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