Lebanon school district voters will see another levy on March ballot

Voters in the Lebanon school district, who passed a property levy for additional operating money in November, will be asked to renew an existing levy in March.

“This certainly contributes to what I would call levy fatigue,” Superintendent Todd Yohey said.

While continuing to generate $4.2 million for daily operations, the new levy is projected to cost more than $8 less per $100,000 in property valuation than the existing one, according to Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan.

For every $100,000 of property value, the three-year, 4.1-mill proposed renewal would cost voters $125, $8.22 less than the current levy, collecting at 4.35 mills, Nolan said last week.

The current levy expires in 2021.

Yohey said the board decided to go back on the ballot in March, rather than wait for the presidential election.

If necessary, it leaves time for a second election try - what it took to pass the new levy in 2019.

“Even though it’s a renewal, it doesn’t mean the taxpayers will approve it. You never want to make any assumptions,” Yohey added.

RELATED: November 2019 election results

On Nov. 5, Lebanon district voters, who rejected an additional 4.99-mill levy for four years in May, passed the issue by a 56-44 margin, virtually the same as the amount by which it failed in May.

On Dec. 16, the school board voted unanimously to put the renewal issue on the March 17 ballot.

Yohey said the board decided against combining the new levy with the existing one because it would have required a higher millage to make up for the loss of the 12.5 percent rollback on levies passed originally before the law changed.

“We would have had to have run a much higher millage,” Yohey said. “That wouldn’t have been good for our voters.”

Yohey said the Lebanon district voters are familiar with and typically amenable to extending existing levies.

“Our community is very well educated on renewal levies,” he said. “It’s become a critical part of how the Lebanon schools are funded and have been funded for many, many years.”

The levy campaign will begin in January.

RELATED: 10 local school issues passed in November election

“There will be a new board in place as well,” Yohey said.

The new board members, Kim Cope and Michael Lane, were involved in and supported the decision to seek the renewal, Yohey said.

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