Hamilton schools are celebrating a milestone this year that few districts in Ohio can: They’ve gone 20 years without increasing their operating taxes. And based on current financial projections, the 3,200-student district will be able to stay off the ballot for another five years.
“That’s a very long time to go without operating money in this state,” said Howard Fleeter, an economist with the Columbus-based Education Tax Policy Institute. “I’ve heard there are districts that have gone longer, but there aren’t many.”
Whitehall schools haven’t requested an operating levy, which raises money to pay teachers and conduct day-to-day school business, since 1995. Voters did approve a combined $30.5 million bond issue and half-mill levy for permanent improvements to overhaul all five district buildings in 2008.