Monroe school residents are the latest in Butler County to get official word they will see a new type of school tax on their fall ballots.
The Monroe Board of Education voted 4-0 Monday evening — with member Tom Leeds absence due to personal matters — to join a handful of other Butler County school systems in placing a school security tax on the November ballot.
Residents in Monroe will decide on a 1.5-mill, 10-year school security tax, which was made possible under a new Ohio law approved in March.
The law allows school districts within Ohio’s counties to form school taxing districts with the purpose to ask voters to decide specific school tax hikes to only fund school security upgrades within their local schools.
Monroe joins five other Butler County school districts — Hamilton, Edgewood, New Miami, Fairfield and Ross — where officials have publicly declared through statements or board votes they are joining in a new taxing district to push the school levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Spurred by school shooting massacres in Florida and Texas this year — and others in recent years — the new law gives local schools an additional funding source to enhance security if voters approve.
“With all the events that have been happening around the country we definitely share the concerns with every school other district about school safety,” said Brett Guido, president of Monroe’s school board.
“Now we’ll wait to see what our local voters say about it,” said Guido.
The tax increase, which the county auditor’s office estimates will raise cost owners of a $100,000 home an additional $52 annually, would raise approximately $510,000 a year for Monroe Schools’ security.
Butler County is only the second in Ohio where districts are forming taxing districts. Some school systems in Stark County are also trying the new security tax option with an issue on the August ballot.
The next step in this new taxing process, said Chris Brown — superintendent of the Butler County Educational Services Center (BCESC), which is the supervising body for the new taxing district — is a vote by the governing board of BCESC on July 11 to put the tax on the ballot.
Only residents in the six participating districts will be able to vote on whether they want to raise their property taxes to help pay for more security in their local schools.
School officials in Lakota, Middletown, Talawanda and Madison schools have decided not to participate in the tax district and its levy.