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Frequently Asked Questions:

Scroll below to read FAQS regarding the operating levy request, how FHSD is funded and how the district allocates its funding.

How is Forest Hills School District funded?    

What are the main sources of revenue for Forest Hills? 

Forest Hill School District residents provide 63% and state funding equals 32%. The remaining 5% of FHSD funding is made up of a variety of federal and local revenue sources. 

How much state funding does the district receive? 

Currently, Forest Hills School District receives 32% of the district’s general funding through the State of Ohio. This is less state funding than other Ohio schools, which receive an average of 43%, according to a January 2019 report prepared by the Fordham Institute. Ohio’s school funding model does not account for inflation and is based on a formula which is subject to change every two years. This two-year cycle makes benchmarks in the required five-year forecast difficult to achieve. 

What is an operating levy? 

Operating levies fund day-to-day operations such as teachers, utilities and supplies. A school levy is a local tax on the value of all residential and business property or on income in a school district. Local school boards recommend levies for school funding, the community votes on the levy and the county collects the taxes and distributes the funds to the school district. An operating levy, once approved by the voters is subject to a reduction factor. This means the taxes collected on the property will not exceed the amount collected at the property’s value in the first year the taxes are collected. Although property values may increase while the levy is in effect, the amount of taxes collected on those properties do not increase.

When was the last time Forest Hills had an operating levy? 

Seven years ago (2012), the Forest Hills Board of Education asked the community to approve a 3.9 mill levy for daily operating expenses. Due to sound fiscal management and budget reductions, the district has stretched the 2012 operating levy to last four years longer than promised. The Forest Hills Board of Education kept and exceeded its commitment.

What is a bond issue? 

A bond issue provides a school district with local revenue for construction purposes. Bond issues remain until the debt is fully paid. 

When was the last bond issue on the ballot and what did it cover? 

Residents approved a 2014 bond issue to provide renovations for eight schools and replace Wilson Elementary. The renovations provide 21st century updates to enhance student learning, provide better security and handicap accessibility, and to make all buildings more energy-efficient. 

What is a mill? 

A mill is the amount of tax payable per dollar of the assessed value of a property and is defined as one-tenth of a percent or one-tenth of a cent (0.1 cents). Mills are often communicated as cost per $100,000 of home property value. For example, a 4.7 mill operating levy equates to $164.50 annually per $100,000 of home market value. 

How does the Forest Hills tax rate compare to our neighboring districts?  

FHSD residents pay less to schools than most of their neighboring districts. In fact, the Forest Hills School District’s current tax rate (38.71) is 15% lower than the average school district taxes in Hamilton County (45.43). FHSD ranks 15 of 22 districts for tax rates. 

How does Forest Hills spend money?

How much does Forest Hills spend per student in the school district?

Forest Hills School District spends $9,939* in operating expenditures per student. The per student spending for several local school districts are as follows:
*Indian Hill Exempted Village School District: $15,142

*Sycamore Community Schools: $11,996
*Madeira City Schools: $11,224

*Cincinnati Public Schools: $10,117

*State average: $9,353

* Based on 2018 numbers from the Ohio Department of Education

How much funding is spent for student instruction?

According to the Ohio Department of Education, Forest Hills spends 73 cents from every dollar on students.

What % of my tax bill funds Forest Hills School District?

Hamilton County’s average school tax is 45.43 mills. Forest Hills School District residents pay 38.71 mills for school taxes, which is 6.72 mills less. 

How does the district actively work to save money?

The district operates in a fiscally sound manner and makes strategic decisions to stretch the 2012 operating levy for as long as possible. This year, the Forest Hills School District implemented a three-phase initiative to reduce $1.5 million in costs before the end of the school year. In Phase I and Phase II, the FHSD administrative team and staff from all nine schools collaborated to identify opportunities to cut costs and to re-align work for maximum efficiency. Phase III includes reductions through attrition.

Why is Forest Hills seeking additional funding?

Money generated from the district’s 2012 operational levy has not kept up with inflationary increases. Although Village of Newtown and Anderson Township property values have increased, the amount of taxes collected on voted levies has not.

How much will the proposed operating levy cost me?

A 4.7 mill operating levy will be on the November 2019 ballot. This equates to $164.50 annually per $100,000 of home market value.