Download Letter to the Community
January 6, 2023
Dear Ross Families and Community Members,
As we start the new year, Ross Local School District is focused on the future, which includes our ongoing funding challenges. The district is currently in deficit spending, which means that we are spending more money to pay for staff and services than the federal, state, and local tax revenue that is coming in. Our Five Year Forecast shows deficit spending for 2023 of $791,629, 2024 of $2,460,709, 2025 of $3,554,702, 2026 of $4,697,506 and 2027 of $5,758,818.
There are two ways to get out of deficit spending - either bring in more revenue or spend less. We attempted to increase revenue with a request for a 7.9 mill operating levy in November of 2022, but it was not approved by voters.
The School Board voted on Friday, January 6th to move forward with a 9.5 mill, 5 year emergency levy on the ballot this May. This will cost a homeowner $27.71 per $100,000 assessed value per month.
I get asked often why the millage is so high. A mill does not equal one million dollars and its value varies per district. A mill in Ross is valued at $470,000. This is based on residential and commercial assessed value. For you personally, a mill is one tenth of one percent of the assessed value of your home. To put this in perspective, a mill in the Talawanda School District is approximately $850,000 and a mill in the Forest Hills School District is approximately 1.5 million.
We have cut approximately 1.8 million dollars from the budget the past two years. We have slated to cut another $600,000 in personnel costs from the budget beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.
Cutting costs will not be enough to eliminate the deficit. Eliminating the deficit entirely would likely require eliminating dozens of positions, and as I said when discussing our last levy request, I do not believe we have dozens of positions that can be cut and maintain appropriate class sizes and safety in our buildings.
There was quite a bit of discussion about district finances during the December 15, 2022 Board Meeting. Please see the powerpoint for more information. School Board Work Session December 15, 2022
We will hold a community conversation on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at 6 pm in the Media Center at Ross High School. The purpose of this conversation is for district leaders to hear from our Ross community about issues facing the school district, including the financial future of Ross Schools. If you would like to attend, please confirm by calling Gina Burnett, Superintendent’s Office, at 513-863-1253 to reserve your spot.
Ross Local School District belongs to our community, and charting a course for the future is a community responsibility. I hope you take the time to participate in the discussion.
If you have questions, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope everyone had a great winter break, and I look forward to having more conversations with our Ross community.