Enduring Excellence in Learning, Leadership, Innovation, and Service

November 3, 2020 Combined Operating/Bond Issue

Please note: This message from Board President Nancy Aichholz was not the result of a Board of Education meeting; it was distributed in advance of the April 28 meeting so community members would know that another vote for the proposed November 3, 2020 combined ballot issue was not going to be on the agenda in April. 
UPDATE: Indian Hill School District potential November 3, 2020 Ballot Issue
An important message from Board of Education President Nancy Aichholz

On behalf of the Board of Education, I’m reaching out to you – neighbor to neighbor – to let you know the Indian Hill Board of Education wishes to express our deepest sympathy for each member of our community touched by the COVID-19 crisis. As a Board, we have looked for every opportunity to be a good neighbor during this global pandemic. After hearing all the wonderful ways in which you are supporting each other, we know that you also share the same desire to be of service to one another. 

Here is how you can help.

Our Indian Hill Schools, in partnership with the Indian Hill Foundation, has established a process and fund to assist Braves who find themselves struggling during this time. You can access the Braves Helping Braves program on our District website.

Turning toward the need for an upcoming bond and operating issue, the Board’s focus is on the critical needs – both instructional and life-sustaining – for our school community. In other words, helping our students, schools, and families to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

Given what we are all facing, I also wish to inform you that our Board will take a momentary pause of the placement of a combined operating/bond issue for the November 3, 2020 ballot. The need remains but the events and needs surrounding the virus require our full and undivided attention. Once the COVID-19 crisis is under control, we intend to revisit the ballot issue. 

The Board will monitor the events in the coming weeks and months and will continue to communicate in detail the next phase of planning for a future ballot issue. Please know that the Board understands maintaining a world-class school system is what you expect and deserve. Our commitment to enduring excellence does continue. 

Thank you for the support you show to our students and schools. We will keep you informed of any updates.

Please stay safe, and as always, be Brave.

Dedicated to the success of our Braves,

Nancy Aichholz
Board of Education
Indian Hill School District
Posted April 21, 2020
Information about potential combined operating/bond issue on November 3, 2020 ballot
In a unanimous vote, the Indian Hill Board of Education took the first steps toward placing a combined operating and bond issue on the November 3, 2020 ballot during a special meeting March 12, 2020. The ballot issue will provide dollars for daily operations and a bond issue to meet critical District needs. 

The combined operating and bond issue is estimated at 5.67 mills. The estimated cost of the November 3 ballot issue is approximately $198.37/year ($ 16.53/month) per $100,000 of property market value per the County Auditor’s website. Please note: These figures are estimates and could be adjusted slightly based on the official calculation by the Hamilton County Auditor.

“This vote is the result of a very public process that has taken place for nearly two years, and the decision to combine the two ballot issues was researched and recommended by two community based committees,” said Indian Hill Board of Education President Nancy Aichholz. “Community members readily saw that there are significant operational and capital needs that can no longer be delayed.”  

The importance of the bond issue is to help protect the investment in the District’s current facilities; make security upgrades at buildings across the District; replace and maintain mechanical systems; and replace Indian Hill Middle School. 

“Over the years, the District has had to divert funds from the daily operating budget to provide for building maintenance, upkeep, and upgrades needed throughout the District’s campus,” said Indian Hill School District Treasurer Mick Davis. “A bond would provide the District with a source of revenue specific to the capital needs, and operating dollars will focus on continuing to maintain our nationally recognized academic, art, and athletic programs.

“Additionally, the Indian Hill School District is an excellent value at 23.99 mills; our District’s tax rate is the lowest in Hamilton County out of all 23 districts. Even with the passage of the November 3 levy, the District would remain among the lowest.”

The District did an excellent job managing the last bond issue – structuring the refinancing of bonds to achieve taxpayer savings of $8.5 million. That savings comes in the form of reduced millage paid towards the bonds. In 2019, a significant share of what residents pay on this bond expired – reducing the bond debt by 1.74 mills. That means an annual reduction of $304 on a $500,000 home, and an annual saving of $609 on a $1 million home. Additionally, residents will see another reduction of 1.4 mills in 2027. 

The last operating levy was more than 25 years ago. The District continues to operate from levies passed in the 1980s and earlier with a near-zero inflationary increase. 

If the levy passes, then the District can meet the operational and capital needs. If the levy fails in November, then the District would need to defer routine repairs and fixes needed in building by an estimated $618,000 in the 2020-2021 school year. This decision would be made to protect the District operating fund in order to maintain programming as much as possible. It is important to note, however, that deferred maintenance will not be enough to balance the budget. In addition to deferred maintenance, the District would need to enact an estimated $1.5 million in districtwide cuts and reductions effective with the 2021-2022 school year.

“Throughout the Facilities Assessment process, it was clear our community values the nationally recognized educational services our District delivers,” said Indian Hill Superintendent Kirk Koennecke. “We feel confident our residents will continue to support our vision of Enduring Excellence in Learning, Leadership, Innovation, and Service.”

Superintendent Koennecke and Treasurer Davis plan to hold informational sessions at Indian Hill Middle School to meet with any interested community members who would like to tour the facility. Those dates will be communicated at a later time.