Voters in 36 school districts in southwest Ohio will see a 2.7 mill levy renewal request on their November ballots. Great Oaks is requesting a continuing renewal of its expiring 2.7-mill operating levy.
The current levy was for a 10-year period, and it expires in 2019. The 2.7 mill rate was originally approved in 1988 and renewed without changes in 1998 and 2008. Great Oaks has not asked for an increase in local funding in 30 years, and is not asking for an increase now—simply a renewal at the current level. If approved, the levy would be for a continuing period.
These are the only local funds provided to Great Oaks. The remainder of the budget comes from state and federal funds.
Great Oaks President/CEO Harry Snyder said that Great Oaks has shown that it is fiscally responsible. “We have lived within our means for 30 years, and by renewing this levy for a continuing period, we can continue to offer uninterrupted career training for our communities.” Snyder also said that Great Oaks funds building projects, capital improvements, lab equipment, and high-tech training equipment from this same levy, without the need for additional local tax dollars.
Area homeowners pay $5.04/month per $100,000 in assessed value, and would continue to do so.
Snyder said that because this levy covers two-thirds of the district’s annual budget, the November vote is really a referendum on the district’s survival. “Without this levy, Great Oaks would lose over 66% of its funding—and would be unable to continue to operate,” he said. This would mean that each of the 36 school districts served by Great Oaks would, by law, have to offer career-technical programs individually, a possibility that Snyder says would be extremely expensive for communities.
Each year, about one in every five public high school juniors and seniors in the region attend one of four Great Oaks campuses—Diamond Oaks, Laurel Oaks, Live Oaks or Scarlet Oaks. The district also provides satellite classes for more than 16,000 middle and high school students at their own school.
About 18,000 adults take classes, attend programs, or take advantage of Great Oaks services annually. This includes training for current law enforcement personnel and firefighters, as well as full- and part-time career certification programs, high school equivalency classes, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), motorcycle safety classes, and other courses and training.
In addition, more than 1400 local business owners, managers, and staff make up advisory committees for the career programs and ensure that Great Oaks programs are in line with business needs.
Great Oaks serves 36 Ohio school districts reaching over 2,200 square miles in 12 southwestern Ohio counties.
With four public campuses in southwest Ohio and workforce development programs in 28 regional high schools, Great Oaks offers nationally-recognized career and professional training and education for nearly 3,000 high school students on campus and more than 16,000 middle and high school students in their schools each year. In addition, thousands of adults take short-term classes or full-time career training, or use Great Oaks services in other ways.
More than thirty career programs provide certification or licensure for students in career fields from aviation mechanics to veterinary assisting, from robotics to nursing to computer technology. Students can also graduate with college credit, offering them a variety of options for the future.