Pro, con Kings tax campaign sides prepare for coming vote

A proposed tax hike to build new learning spaces in King Schools is bringing out campaigning by both supporters and opponents.

Yard signs for and against the schools’ 4.7-mill, $89.9 million bond issue to pay for a new junior high school, renovate other classroom spaces are dotting Kings’ neighborhoods in the southern Warren County district.

Explore MORE: Opponents of Kings Schools’ tax hike claim district is campaigning improperly, file complaints to state officials

School officials said without the $89.9 million for construction and renovation, the district’s consistent high academic standing is threatened. They warn without the new tax funding, some classes in the growing district will have to held in portable classrooms outside of school buildings.

Opponents, however, say the need for a new school is excessive and the district can make do with the current learning spaces.

They contend the tax bond issue’s life, which can last up to 37 years, is too long and costly, especially for the area’s older residents, some who live on fix incomes.

The coming March 17 vote is an electoral rematch of sorts since almost the same amount of school tax increase was on the November ballot, where it lost by only 146 votes out of 7,296 cast.

Explore MORE: Voters reject Kings Schools’ bond issue to build new junior high, add classroom spaces

Former Deerfield Twp. Trustee Joe Mettey said he is seeing more opposition this time around.

“The majority of voters said ‘no’ the last time and they will be coming back again,” said Mettey. “And the school district asking for a 37-year-bond issue is too long of time. That’s what I’m hearing in the community.”

But long-time resident Sherri Holzman is worried about overcrowding and its impact on student learning.

“Folks can debate enrollment numbers and projections, but all you have to do is look in our classrooms,” said Holzman, whose granddaughter attends Kings.

“The students are already here. We do not have enough space to adequately serve them. We must do something, and we should do it right. Every single student, in every building, will benefit from this plan immediately.”

Kings, which includes communities in Deerfield Twp., Landen, Kings Mills and South Lebanon, has 4,636 students and is regularly rated among the top academic performers in Ohio, and its high school has been lauded as among the top 100 in the U.S.

If approved by voters, the newly proposed, 4.7-mill tax increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $165 per year.

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