The Dayton Public Schools has another levy increase on the ballot for this election. This is a scaled back version of the 16 mil levy heavily defeated last May, asking for only 4.9 mills this time around.
I voted against both of them.
School levies are tricky issues for school districts, especially districts like Dayton Public Schools. They are one of the highest funded districts in the State of Ohio when one combines taxes, state, and federal funding, yet DPS is currently in both fiscal and academic emergency. More than 40 percent of the districts high school students fail to graduate (both dropouts before and during the senior year).
The problem with giving a district like DPS more money is that they have not demonstrated they can use the money they already have effectively. I understand that DPS faces many, many issues as a predominantly urban school district in a city whose population and resources are shrinking, but one of the marks of a district that will garner more support is a district that is doing the best it can with what it already has. DPS is not doing that.
If DPS wants my vote for its levies, then it needs to come clean about what is going on inside its district. It needs to open its books–both the financial and performance ones–and show voters like me how more money will help what is broken. Until then, I believe these levies will continue to fail. The district has given no one like me a reason to pass them.
There’s a reason why DPS hasn’t passed a levy in 16 years… Voters reward performance.