Springfield board seeks tax renewal

By Virginia Ross

The tax represents 25 percent of the district’s general operating budget.

NEW MIDDLETOWN — Springfield Board of Education is asking residents to renew the current 1 percent income tax levy.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the school board agreed to place the renewal request on the May primary ballot.

Essentially, the five-year levy taxes incomes of all district residents. Due to expire at the end of the year, it generates $1.4 million annually and represents about 25 percent of the district’s general operating budget, school officials explained.

The district has opted to rely on the income tax rather than increasing real estate taxes, explained district treasurer Edward Sobnosky.

He said the district would have to increase property taxes by 50 percent to raise the same amount the income tax generates.

“We really want to let folks know how important this levy is to the district,” explained board president Len Fagnano. “We need this. We need this for our district. We need this for our students.”

Voters approved the current income tax in 2005. Residents have voted against renewing the levy once since it was established in the early 1990s.

In related news, the school board briefly discussed the possibility of hiring an architect to evaluate work that needs to be done to upgrade the district’s three buildings.

The board had looked into working with Ohio Schools Facilities Commission to build new school facilities, but residents voted against a bond issue that would have provided a portion of the funding for the project.

“But the bottom line is that the buildings need work,” Fagnano said. “We’re not building new buildings. But we need to make repairs to the buildings we have, and that’s going to cost money. We’re looking at spending the same amount of money to repair these buildings that we would have spent building new, just over a longer period of time.

“When the bond issue didn’t pass, we had to regroup and look at how we were going to get the work done. And there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. That’s the reality. That’s what we’re faced with.”

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