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Yellow Springs Voters To Decide School Facilities Levy Tuesday

The number of African American-owned businesses has fallen sharply in Yellow Springs from its peak four decades ago. Only a handful remain in the village.
Jess Mador

Yellow Springs voters will decide Tuesday whether to fund new school renovations and construction in the village. The levy issue has created significant controversy in the community.

The Yellow Springs School Board is asking voters to approve a 4.7-mill property tax levy and quarter percent income tax increase. The tax hikes would fund an $18.5 million renovation and construction project at Yellow Springs High School and McKinney School. If passed, homeowners with property worth $200,000 would pay an extra $329 in property taxes alone.

Yellow Springs resident Kat Walter says that’s too much. She says it’s already difficult for many people to afford living in the village, “And this would put many of them over the top. We are pricing out lower and median incomes in the village. And for a healthy and thriving village we need diversity in income, in experience, ethnicity, and we’re making that unfeasible here.”

Schools superintendent Mario Basora says he understands villagers' concerns about affordability. But, he says the half-century-old school building is in need of expensive renovations. He expects construction costs will continue to rise in the coming years.

“I think it’s a good time to stop and say is it best to spend the money on continuing to maintain the building or is it better to make a long-term investment in our community.”

If voters approve the school-facilities levy Tuesday, construction is expected to begin in 2019.