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Old 08-25-2010, 07:24 AM
 
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Hello again everyone, been doing some research for my kids' schooling (they will be in grades 2, K, and pre-k), and saw that the Lakota and King's Mills School Districts were highly rated, but have also heard that they are having significant issues.

Can anyone on this forum provide any details on their experiences with these districts and if I should be considering them along with Mason (already have resident info for Mason).

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Well, I think it remains to be seen what ultimately happens with Lakota now that they are in this position. There is another levy coming in November, and it all depends on whether it passes. In recent years, voters have rejected them 4 out of 5 times. It's probably still an excellent school system as far as the quality of education the kids get, but with the cuts in staff and programs, there is obviously going to be larger classes, fewer extracurricular programs, perhaps fewer choices in curriculum, higher fees for parents, and an added inconvenience for them due to restrictions in transportation. Teachers have accepted a pay freeze for the next two years.

Out of curiosity, are you NOT moving to Charlotte? I saw a different post where you said you were probably moving there. Are you just checking out different parts of the country?
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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That's the info I was looking for, thanks. Was accepted for a job in Cincy that's a much better situation than Charlotte, so to Cicy we go!
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I recall you said something about the Mason area being out of your price range. Unfortunately, the Lakota district probaby is, too, because it only covers Liberty and West Chester...which are comparable to Mason. It's conceivable you could find a home in Liberty or West Chester that isn't quite as pricey, but it would most likely be an older farm home that maybe needs fixing up.

I know you're less concerned about the commute, so you may want to consider the Talawanda district, also. It basically covers the Northwest Butler County area, predominantly Oxford. It's not a bad district...they are in the process of building a new high school that will open in time for the class of 2012. The homes in Oxford are somewhat "expensive" (not outrageously bad), but outside of town you could find something more affordable in your range. The commute to Fairfield would still be ~30 minutes. Just a thought.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:55 AM
 
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If you're looking at Lakota, Liberty Twp would be your most affordable housing bet. Though I think they will fail the levy. Most of the suburbs here (haven't seen a levy for the City schools recently) are failing the levies much to the dismay of the people who moved to the suburbs for their great schools. The long time residents are fed up, and everyone is freaked out about the economy.

Mason, I would think the schools will remain high - as it seems that Mason is more established, so the population seems like it has valued education more highly for a longer period of time.

Liberty Twp./Westchester's extraordinary growth has been recent, and I don't know that the community will continue to support their schools at a high level for the long term future.

I live in Lebanon SD, and we have a levy in the Fall. My guess is it will fail as well.

Don't know much about King's Mill. Know that little Miami has failed consistently over the last 2 years.

Good luck with the move..
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
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Both Mason and West Chester have some older but nice neighborhoods which might be in your price range. My personal feeling is the Lakota and Mason school levies will both fail this fall. As is typical, the administrations are predicting dire consequences, but they always do. The gung ho support the schools at any cost for the kids group I believe will lose this one. Too many people are being directly affected by or are in fear of the economy.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:53 AM
 
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Interesting, my relative in Mason thinks it will pass, but obviously doesn't know everyone in the district .

What about Kings SD? How are they faring in all this?

According to some reviews that I read at greatschools.org it looks like only 1 school in that area has negative parent reviews, are they also in the same budget situation?
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,358,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldweasel View Post
Interesting, my relative in Mason thinks it will pass, but obviously doesn't know everyone in the district .

What about Kings SD? How are they faring in all this?

According to some reviews that I read at greatschools.org it looks like only 1 school in that area has negative parent reviews, are they also in the same budget situation?
I believe just about every SD in the area is facing the same situation. Lakota, Mason, Kings, Lebanon, Loveland, Little Miami, etc. have all seen explosive growth over the past decade and a half. First come the construction levies, followed by the operating levies.

Little Miami was the first to feel the pinch. Their levies have been voted down repeatedly over the last few years so they are now in fiscal emergency meaning the state is taking control of their finances. One of their problems is the growth has been all residential, there is virtually no commercial/industrial base for taxes to the schools.

Ohio also has a rather interesting state law, passed back in the 70s when inflation was running rampant. It basically states when a tax levy is passed, the current total dollar value of the levy cannot be exceeded. For example, let's say a levy is passed where the millage rate times the current tax base is equal to $40 Mil. This is the maximum which can be received over the life of the levy. Then you take areas like Mason, West Chester & Liberty townships which have seen explosive growth. This growth obviously requires larger schools. The same growth increases the tax base. So the older levies are re-proportioned against the new tax base, meaning you would actually see a decrease for an individual property. Of course as you go along, new levies have to be passed for the increased costs. But you do not see the full effect of the new taxes since the increased tax base is spreading the effect of the older levies across a larger population.

But then the day of reckoning comes. An area like Mason starts to become built out, no new significant increase in tax base. In fact, due to the economy and housing collapse, property evaluations actually decrease. But wait, your taxes don't go down. The Ohio law also works in reverse, divide the total voted levy amounts by the current tax base, and that is what you pay.

And I love the wording used by the levy advocates. The owner of a $100,000 house in Mason will only see a $xxx increase. In May 2010, the average sale price of a house in Mason was $215 K, and this is in a down economy.

So I will stick by my original prediction, virtually every SD levy in the area this fall will go down in flames. Is this because people are anti-schools? I don't believe so, but I do believe they are anti increases when so many are facing severe deprevation with the economy.

Last edited by kjbrill; 08-26-2010 at 08:48 AM.. Reason: summitted before completing.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:18 AM
 
18 posts, read 47,956 times
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Thank you for that wonderful explanation!

So from my interpretation, based on the possibility of levies not passing, the order of the districts with the worst issues are as follows:

1) Little Miami
2) Lakota / West Chester
3) Mason

Where would Kings fit into this list?

I.E. - knowing what we do about the massive influx these areas are receiving, where would you send your kids?

Again, thanks in advance!
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:26 AM
 
66 posts, read 166,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldweasel View Post
Interesting, my relative in Mason thinks it will pass, but obviously doesn't know everyone in the district .

What about Kings SD? How are they faring in all this?

According to some reviews that I read at greatschools.org it looks like only 1 school in that area has negative parent reviews, are they also in the same budget situation?
Kings is an awesome school district. Not too big, not too small. Graduating class was around 270. Even in this economy, the Kings levy last November was passed by the largest margin in the district's history. As far as I know, financially, they are in a much better place than Lakota, and I haven't heard of any budget issues after the levy was passed. The high school was just expanded and is a very nice facility. All of the elementary schools are great, with very caring teachers, smaller class sizes( no more than 25), and a lot of extracurricular activities. Most of the elementary buildings are no more than 5-10 years old. I am a Kings graduate who completed all 13 years in the district. They provided me with a great education in a safe and caring community. Good luck with your decision and move. Let me know if you have any more specific questions about the district!
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