Voters reject all 4 area school issues

All four area school issues failed Tuesday night, according to complete but unofficial results.

West Branch fell 2,884 (76.95 percent) to 864 (23.05 percent), United 1,237 (57.75 percent) to 905 (42.25 percent), South Range 1,329 (66.05 percent) to 683 (33.95 percent) and Sebring 641 (62.54 percent) to 384 (37.46 percent).

West Branch, which had a .75 percent continuous income tax on the ballot, will meet in special session at 7:30 a.m. today to consider another income tax levy, expected to also be .75 percent, for the February special election. It must be submitted to the county board of elections by the end of today.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart expressed disappointment in the outcome of Tuesday’s election, but acknowledged that passing a levy is a process, and heavy lifting when the district hasn’t passed a new money levy in over a decade, and that this result gives the administration and school board a starting point for moving forward.

“This vote tells us we have more work to do and it tells us we have more opportunity to have conversations with the community,” he said. “The district’s financial need is very real, and the sense of urgency is very real. West Branch cannot continue operating with a deficit (spending) and declining revenue from the state.”

Weingart thanked those who voted for the levy and encouraged those who didn’t to enter into a dialog with administrators and school board members to make sure all their concerns and questions are answered.

The levy was defeated in Columbiana County 1,425 (75.96 percent) to 451 (24.04 percent) and in Mahoning County 1,459 (77.94 percent) to 413 (22.06 percent).

United was trying for a 3-mill continuous permanent improvement levy that would have generated $376,700 annually for long-term projects. The same levy failed by 200 votes in May.

Schools Superintendent Steve Viscounte was not immediately available for comment.

South Range attempted a 4.8-mill, 10-year emergency levy that would have generated $857,500 annually for general operation expenses.

Schools Superintendent Dennis Dunham was not immediately available for comment

Sebring had on the ballot a 6.7-mill, five-year emergency levy that would have generated $300,000 annually for general operation expenses.