The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education did not make any decisions about potentially placing a levy on the March primary election ballot during its special meeting Monday at the district office.
Following about 30 minutes of executive session, the board discussed in open session aspects of the levy. The discussion focused primarily around what type of levy, when to place the levy and at what point it would have the most impact. Board member Mark Chrisman said, for him, a March turnaround is too quick and the board needs to do more research in order to ensure that if the levy is placed on another ballot it will pass.
Board member Ken Upthegrove replied and said he wished to not slow down the momentum after such a close defeat in November, and said he thought a March ballot could work. After about an hour of discussion, the board did not make any motions nor voted to place anything on the March ballot, but did acknowledge that they have until Dec. 18 to decide if they want to place the levy back on the ballot. With the board’s last meeting of the year on Dec. 16, the members will need to decide at that meeting what they want to do with the levy going forward.
Several community members present also gave input on the type of levy and asked questions about how much the tax or millage would yield if passed, as well as the timeframe on collection of the levy funding. A few community members even voiced concerns about the clarity of information being presented about the levy and hoped it would be better in the future.
“We are looking to secure the future of this community — the kids,” WCHCS Superintendent Tom Bailey said. “These 2,200 kids are our future and are the future of this county. If the district fails then the city fails and if the city fails as the seat of the county, the county fails. Many who say they have lived here their whole lives; just imagine this funding being voted down in 1991 when we last asked for it. Imagine life without some of the opportunities that were able to be given with that money. No one here is looking for instant rewards or gratification, we are looking to cement the future of our community.”
As previously reported, the WCHCS 1 percent income tax levy for operating funds failed on Nov. 5 at the general election by 1,225 votes (50.56 percent) 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. The Fayette County Board of Elections certified the final vote totals in mid-November 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.”
Stay with the Record-Herald for a follow-up this week that will share some of the comments and concerns shared by community residents during the special board meeting Monday.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.