The Washington Court House City Schools (WCHCS) Board of Education has passed a resolution to place a seven-year, 1 percent earned income tax levy on the August special election ballot.
Recently, the district ran a comprehensive survey of local voters to gain feedback and opinions on how to best move forward. The WCHCS Board of Education used the results from the survey to inform its decision to return to the ballot in August, according to district officials.
“We truly value the input of our community, and the school board took the opinions given into account when moving forward with this resolution,” said WCHCS Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey. “The community overwhelmingly responded that academics is their top priority, and we are committed to continue fostering an excellence of learning while maintaining strict and efficient fiscal stewardship.”
If the levy passes, it would allow WCHCS to maintain current academic programming for local students as well as temporally eliminating the need to continue to make dramatic cuts to academic programs and services across the district, according to district officials.
The district placed levies on the ballot the past two November elections, with last year’s decision failing by 32 votes. According to the district, WCHCS has not seen an increase in local operating funds in 29 years.
“Over the last year, our school has already had to make approximately $1 million in cuts and spending reductions for the 2020-2021 school year,” Dr. Bailey said. “And without the passage of a new levy, additional significant cuts affecting academics and personnel will be next.”
According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the earned income tax base includes employee compensation and net earnings from self-employment to the extent included in modified adjusted gross income of the residents of the WCHCS District.
An earned income tax will not tax retirement funds, pensions, unemployment benefits, child support, disability and survivor benefits, welfare, interest, dividends, or capital gains, district officials said. Property taxes will not be impacted.
“At 1 percent, it will cost the average household in our community around a dollar a day,” Dr. Bailey said. “We are already operating on a budget that is millions of dollars smaller than all area schools. Failure to pass this levy will only set the opportunities that our students deserve back even further.”
District administrators explained that WCHCS has one of the lowest spending rates per pupil when compared to surrounding districts and similar districts throughout Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Education, and this would still be the case if the levy passes.
“We are proud to offer our students the quality education Washington Court House expects while remaining very fiscally conservative and operating on a much smaller budget than comparable schools,” Dr. Bailey said.
The information in this article was provided by WCHCS Director of Marketing and Communications Trevor Patton. Stay with the Record-Herald for more information about the levy in a future edition of the paper.