West Branch levy meetings slated

BELOIT- West Branch residents will have three opportunities to learn about the proposed income tax levy before the May election.

Informational meetings are slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Damascus Elementary, April 14 at the middle school and April 28 at Knox Elementary. The school board is seeking a five-year .75 percent income tax that will generate approximately $2 million annually to address a projected deficit over $1 million in two years.

According to school Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart, the meetings are designed to ensure voters have accurate information when making their decision.

“We want people to go to the polls with correct information and with an opportunity to have their questions answered,” he said.

Coordinated by the We ARE West Branch levy committee, the meetings will be moderated by former state Rep. Ken Carano on Tuesday, Mahoning County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Ron Iarussi on April 14 and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni on April 28. An information PowerPoint presentation will be introduced then moderator will share questions submitted on cards by those in the audience to a panel including Weingart, Treasurer Daniel Telzrow, school board members and county officials. The questions will be answered that night if possible or otherwise reserved for the next meeting, Weingart said.

School administrators will be available following the meeting to answers questions individually, Weingart added.

If the levy passes it will take effect in January 2015. But if it fails, substantial cuts to staff and services are imminent.

According to information on the school website, the tax- a “traditional income tax”- will affect any resident with a personal or estate income. An Ohio taxable income of $35,000 equates to $262.50 per year. Social Security, as well as certain government and railroad pensions, will not be taxed.

The district last passed a levy for additional operating dollars in 1997. Currently the district is operating at the lowest possible mills and educates its students at approximately 15 percent less per pupil than state average.

Residents are encouraged to visit the school’s website, www.westbranch.k12.oh.us, call the superintendent’s office at 330-938-9324 or email Scott.Weingart@WBWarriors.org for information regarding the levy.