Salem voters renew school levy

SALEM – Salem school district voters overwhelmingly continued their support for a 2-mill permanent improvement levy to keep district buildings and equipment updated and maintained.

According to complete, but unofficial results from the Columbiana County Board of Elections, the five-year renewal levy passed with 495 votes in favor of the levy and 170 votes against it, for a nearly 75 percent approval nod.

“I couldn’t be happier and more appreciative of the residents of the Salem city school district,” Superintendent Tom Bratten said Tuesday night.

The permanent improvement levy first came on in 1983 and was last renewed by voters in 2008, with no additional cost to taxpayers since it’s a renewal. District Treasurer Jim Wilson said previously the levy would generate an estimated $298,100 per year, according to the amount certified by the Columbiana County Auditor’s Office.

The permanent improvement levy can only be spent on permanent improvements, such as increasing the wireless capability in classrooms, purchasing iPads for students to use in the classrooms, buying buses, painting classrooms, repairing roofs, replacing windows or resurfacing the track at Reilly Stadium.

Besides the money from the 2-mill levy, the district relies on 1-mill of continuous inside millage and a portion of the homestead and the rollback on property tax bills for permanent improvement expenses.

Bratten said they held meetings with district residents several years ago to get an idea of what they wanted and the people said they would not support new school buildings, but they would support money for maintaining and improving what the district has available for students. “They have kept that pledge and we couldn’t be more thankful for that,” he said.

He credited the residents as “100 percent responsible for us to be able to grow and replace what we need to replace to continue to get better.”

“We can’t do the things we do without them,” he said.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at