The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education will work toward placing a new levy on the March primary election ballot following the narrow failure at the November general election of a 1 percent income tax levy for operating funds.
As previously reported, on Nov. 5 at the general election, according to unofficial results, 1,225 votes (50.56 percent) went against the income tax levy to 1,198 votes (49.44 percent) for the levy. With a difference of only 27 votes, the unofficial results were too close to call the night of Nov. 5 due to provisional ballots that still needed to be counted. A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there are questions about a given voter’s eligibility that must be resolved before the vote can count.
The Fayette County Board of Elections certified the final vote totals Tuesday afternoon and the final vote count for the WCHCS income tax levy was 1,244 (50.65 percent) against the tax and 1,212 (49.35 percent) for the tax. Of the provisional ballots, 29 were confirmed with 14 votes going “for the tax” and 15 votes going “against the tax.”
The income tax levy was one of several topics discussed at Monday night’s meeting when the WCHCS Board of Education members decided they would work to put a levy back on the ballot — this time at the 2020 March primary — by reading a resolution stating their intent to look at the need for another levy. The resolution states they are “declaring it necessary to annually raise an additional amount for school district purposes and requesting the State Tax Commissioner estimate the respective rates at which it would be necessary to levy an Ad Valorem Property Tax and a School District Income Tax to produce that amount.”
“The board has scheduled a meeting for Monday, December 2 at 7 p.m. and they will discuss in much more detail what they want to do moving forward,” Trevor Patton, director of marketing and communication at WCHCS, said. “The board has to vote to inquire about a need with the State Tax Commissioner, who determines millage and percentage of the levy. That resolution was approved and will be sent this week. The commissioner will perform an audit and will assess what style of tax we would need. With that being said, the school board does not have to put something on just because they asked for the tax commissioner to look. At the December 2 meeting they will look at the results from the tax commissioner and decide what to do going forward. Superintendent Tom Bailey has also started the process of evaluating cuts. I know he has met with classified managers, building principals and department heads to assess where the cuts can come from within the budget. This process is expected to take just a short amount of time, but regardless of the outcome the district definitely wants to thank everyone who supported us through the election as well as those who reached out to ask questions. I know I personally fielded countless phone calls and questions, and the district really appreciates those who reached out to ask about the need here at Washington Court House City Schools.”
According to the Ohio Secretary of State website ohiosos.gov, the deadline to file for the March 17 primary is Dec. 18. Additionally, the deadline to register to vote is Feb. 18.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more on the Fayette County Board of Elections and Washington Court House City Schools.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.