The traditional school levy campaign, which includes creation of private fund-raising organizations to promote its passage, campaign events, ads and literature has proven too expensive for the five districts, which have instead conducted a purely informational campaign so far. The relatively low millage and narrow focus of the proposed tax also has forced a low-key approach, say officials from various school districts.
Hamilton Schools officials have held similar events with similar, low turnouts.
In contrast, opposition to the tax — led by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones — has included several other elected office holders who when asked have criticized the proposed tax hike.
“I just wanted to find out more about it. I’m really glad to see the emphasis on mental health counselors,” said resident Kim Hutchison, the lone resident, who wasn’t connected with the levy campaign who showed up to quiz Fairfield officials.
“It’s a new concept and I’ve worked on levies before,” said Hutchison in explaining why she has no prediction as to whether she expects the tax hike to win voter approval on Nov. 6.
If voters in a school system do not approve the new tax — but the tax wins voter approval in other participating districts — residents in the district where the tax was defeated will still have to pay the tax increase and will also receive the new funds for their local schools.
If approved, the property tax increase would cost an average of $52 annually for a $100,000 home.
“The (tax) money approved by Fairfield voters will stay in Fairfield Schools,” said Hare.
Despite Tuesday’s no-shows, Smith said community awareness of the levy is significant.
“We have received mostly positive feedback about the levy, especially from our parents. Many parents and community members are supportive of having (armed) school security resource officers in our schools, additional mental health services for our students, and upgrading our campuses from a safety and security perspective,” Smith said.
“I am hopeful that it passes. I am hopeful that people see the value in having a school resource officer in each of our buildings, providing mental health services and support to our students, and upgrading each of our campuses from a safety and security perspective,” he said.