COLUMBIANA SCHOOLS Board OKs income tax ballot issue

The income tax would generate about $1.2 million annually, the treasurer said.
COLUMBIANA -- The school board has agreed to place a 1 percent income tax issue before voters on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
School Treasurer Lori Posey said this morning that the income tax revenue would cover the shortfall that will occur from the loss of a 1.6-mill permanent improvement levy -- about $123,000 annually.
Income tax revenue would also cover the revenue generated by an emergency operating levy -- about $870,000 -- that expires in December. Collections on the levy will continue through December 2003.
Voters defeated the 1.6-mill permanent improvement levy three times this year.
Preparing for cuts
The board has asked Posey and schools Superintendent Patricia Hura to provide information at its Sept. 11 meeting as to where nearly $1 million in cuts could be made, if needed.
Board Member Stephen Cramer has said a $1 million deficit or more would force cuts in programs and services and the state could take control of the district's finances.
Cramer also has said budget cuts could include athletics and high school busing.
Cramer has complained that "there seems to be a complacency" among district voters, "a belief that somehow everything will all work out."
Cramer has said district officials continue to hear concerns from people who own property and rely on fixed incomes. They say they can't afford more property taxes.
Outsiders move in
Another factor that may be affecting the district's inability to get a property tax levy adopted is the number of people moving to the district who have no previous ties to the community or school system, Cramer has said.
John Payne, director of the Columbiana County Board of Elections, said Crestview and United are the other school districts in the county that have income tax issues in effect.

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