District to seek .75% income tax

BELOIT- The West Branch school board on the May ballot will attempt a .75 percent income tax for the second time, but this time will limit it to five years.

The board Thursday night approved placing the levy on the May ballot. If approved it will take effect Jan. 1, 2015, and generate $2,043,127 annually.

According to schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart, the levy will be a traditional income tax that draws on mostly earned income such as salaries and pensions, but not social security. He encouraged residents to contact school administration with specific concerns.

“It’s no different from most of our neighbors,” Weingart said after the meeting.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a .75 percent continuing income tax on the November ballot.

Treasurer Daniel Telzrow’s five-year forecast shows a growing deficit spending over the next few years, leading to a projected $2.6 million cash balance deficit in 2017 despite a series of reductions in staffing, a pay freeze for all employees and reductions in operating budgets.

The district last passed a levy for additional operating dollars in 1997.

At the meeting, three district residents voiced concerns that the administration has not explained the need for the levy well enough, citing increasing property tax revenue in Columbiana County, a lack of transparency in financial matters and a failure to get the general public involved in the levy.

In other business the board accepted the retirement of head cook Mary Lynn Cameron at the end of the school year under the retire/rehire provision and the resignation of Christine Harter as a 2.5-hour cashier. The board also hired Nikki McDorman as a substitute nurse, Ryan Wolf as a certified substitute and Debra Edie as a ticket taker.

Additionally the board accepted donations of $15,761 from West Branch Choral Parents for the choral trip, $599 Apple iPad Air and $50 case from DonorsChoose.org for Krista Clay’s class, $100 from the West Branch Alumni Association to the Choral Department, $4,000 from anonymous for Above & Beyond awards, $5,000 from the Schwab Charitable Fund for the Auditorium Fund and $360 from the West Branch Athletic Boosters for Hudl Software for the basketball program.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the high school media center.