BY JOE WESSELS
Loveland Local News

LOVELAND, Ohio — The Loveland City School District school board is expected to take action during a special meeting Monday to lower the November school levy proposal’s initial cost to taxpayers.

Art Jarvis, Loveland school board president
Art Jarvis, Loveland City School District, school board president. Photo provided.

Board President Art Jarvis said this opportunity to change the amount collected opened up with recent lower bond interest rates making the large facility plan – approved in April – cheaper to implement.

“What has happened is interest rates have dropped so much since we made the original proposal that our financing people came to us with this proposal. (The cost has) dropped like $40 million,” Jarvis said. “So they came to us with a proposal that we can actually tier in the tax increase.”

Jarvis said Monday’s meeting – which was announced at 4 p.m. Friday via a press release – is to discuss this proposal only, which would require board approval to implement. He said it does not require changing the 16.78 mill levy’s ballot language.

“You can’t change it and you don’t have to,” he said. “So, when we’re working with the counties, we say, ‘OK, we’re going to do part of this year, two parts of it the next and the whole thing and so on.'”

Instead of getting the full tax collection right away, the school district can opt to take smaller amounts and gradually work up to the full amount, if approved by voters in November.

“It eases the impact for the taxpayer,” Jarvis, who owns his own financial services advisory firm, said. Because of interest rates dropping, the school district would end up collecting more than the school district actually needs to implement the plan.

“But because we’re, I’ll use 40 million (dollars), to the better than we were before this, it made this an opportunity to do it. Whereas before, if we tried to do it, it would just be adding another whatever million dollars to (the cost).”

The combined levy – which includes three levies in one – generates $165 million and was approved unanimously at the July 26 meeting. The building bond levy – or $118.5 million of the total – will expire after 37 years, Jarvis said.

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes’ office has certified the levy would collect approximately $9 million in 2020, the first year it would be in effect.

The remaining money for a continuous improvement levy is expected to last three years, according to a Loveland school district website. At that point, the district may have to ask voters for new operating money.

In April, the school board approved a facilities master plan which includes a new three-school campus on 110 acres of the Grailville property along O’Bannonville Road in Miami Township. The schools would house a pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten grade school, a 1st and 2nd grade school and a 3rd through 5th grade school. If the levy passes, building designers expect the new schools to be open in 2022 or 2023.

Jarvis said the board plans to discuss this at the 5 p.m. Monday meeting at the Loveland Intermediate School/Loveland Middle School Media Center (757 South Lebanon Road). He said he expects the resolution changing the amount collected to pass.

The last levy passed in 2014 and was expected to carry through 2018, but has been stretched into mid-2019, Jarvis said. If this new levy passes, it would add another $588 per year on a $100,000 of appraised property value, according to a school district website.

More information about the levy is available on a school district website at buildingtigernation.org

This story was updated to fix an error and make a clarification. The original story had mislabeled what grade levels one of the three new schools would include. Also, the amounts for each portion of the combined levy were added and/or clarified.