The Washington Court House City School (WCHCS) District’s 1 percent earned income tax levy passed at this August’s special election by 11 votes, according to the Fayette County Board of Elections.
The result from the special election — held on Aug. 4 — was too close to call on Election Night as 751 City of Washington Court House citizens voted for the passage of the levy and 748 voted against. Twenty additional ballots — 17 provisional and three absentee — were added into the official certification of the election at Monday’s Board of Elections meeting.
The final certified tally is 765 for and 754 against. A total of 1,520 ballots were cast, according to the Board of Elections, for a 19.88 percent voter turnout.
WCHCS Superintendent Dr. Tom Bailey thanked the entire community for its support of the city school district.
“This is a huge win for the children of Washington Court House City Schools,” Bailey said. “We’ve been trying to get something passed for close to three years now, since I’ve been here. This is very much needed and I do want to assure everyone we will be fantastic stewards of taxpayer dollars, and we will continue to educate to the best of our ability within the resources that we have. We’re obviously very thrilled with the result and we thank the community.”
WCHCS receives $2,016.03 in local revenue per pupil, according to the Ohio Department of Education Cupp Report. Comparable districts receive on average $4,096.37 per student from their communities. Miami Trace Local Schools, the neighboring school district, receives $5,892.05 per pupil. The state average local revenue is $6,117.18 per pupil.
“The passage of this levy really does elevate us a little bit and gets our students a little bit closer to the students in surrounding areas,” Bailey said.
Leading up to the election, district officials stressed that they needed to pass this levy for the kids, and more specifically, for updated curriculum, recruitment and retention of instructional teachers, and resources required for the district’s students to succeed and compete academically.
This 1 percent earned income tax levy will generate approximately $1.8 million annually for the district, beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
Residents of the WCHCS district who earn wages, salaries and tips will be taxed. Income that will not be taxed: retirement income, pensions, property, Social Security, unemployment, disability and survivor benefits, welfare benefits, child support, interests, dividends, and capital gains.
The average citizen in Washington C.H. will pay $1.08 a day.
“We don’t start collecting dollars from this until 2021,” said Bailey. “And the full collection will not happen until about March or April of 2022. The full collection won’t even come for another year-and-a-half or so. We have to be very conservative still as we’re operating in a deficit-spending mode because of our budget and that’s not going away this year.”
Robin Beekman, the chairperson for the Fayette County Board of Elections, said the special election certification process was “excellent.”
“In such a close election like this, everyone did a remarkable job,” said Beekman. “We have a great set of workers who do a wonderful job, and we thank everyone who came out to vote. We would always like to see more people come out to vote but we’ll take what we can.
“There will be no recount,” Beekman added. “If it had been fewer than seven votes apart either way, there would have had to be a recount.”
Beekman added that’s it’s very convenient and safe to vote in Fayette County, whether it be absentee or in-person.
“This election is a great example of how every vote is important and every vote counts,” she said.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.