Larry Knapp, superintendent of the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, said the ballot defeat was “it is disappointing that the levy was not successfully supported, but we accept the outcome and can find some consolation that we will not be losing any current services as a result of this setback.”
“That being said, it is disheartening as to the help and support that will not be made available for those students who truly need it,” said Knapp who along with superintendents of the other four districts campaigned hard to convince voters that funding more mental health counselors to aid troubled students was as important as adding armed security guards to schools.
Edgewood Schools Superintendent Russ Fussnecker, whose district had taken the lead last school year among area schools by adding armed security guards to all its schools, said the increasing possibility of deadly violence in all American schools made the new type of school levy necessary.
“In today’s environment, we are constantly faced with finding more ways to protect our kids from the constant threats that exist in our world and in our community,” said Fussnecker.
“It’s disheartening to see a levy fail, especially one that was 100 percent focused on the safety, security, and mental health well-being of our students,” he said.
The school tax was a new concept and it also faced unprecedented opposition from Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones and a handful of other local public office holders.
Jones moved against the proposed tax increase early, dubbing it a “money grab” even before officials from Hamilton, Fairfield, Edgewood, Monroe and New Miami schools launched their campaigns in August.
Jones contended the five districts should pay for school security enhancements out of their existing budgets.
“It (Issue 2) was ill-conceived from the beginning,” he said. “People are against new taxes and it’s hard for any new school tax to pass anyways.”
For New Miami Schools resident Denny Callahan the school tax hike was a no vote.
“It is always something and like Sheriff Jones said they (the five districts) already had (millions of dollars) in reserve and they want more and more,” said Callahan.