West Branch won't ask voters to approve income tax in February - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

West Branch won't ask voters to approve income tax in February

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BELOIT, Ohio - The West Branch Board of Education has unanimously voted against placing a three-quarters of one percent school district income tax on a February 4, 2014 ballot.

Wednesday morning's special board meeting was scheduled before Tuesdays election, where voters resoundingly defeated the same issue 1,459 to 413, or a 78% to 22% margin.

According to a news release from the board, Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart said the board has given themselves more time to meet and talk with voters before placing the same basic issue on the ballot. "The result of the election makes it clear that our voters need more time and more information before they will approve additional school funding for West Branch.", said Dr. Weingart. 

If the West Branch School Board chooses to place the issue before the voters prior to the November 2014 General Election, they could place the issue on in the May or in August 2014 special elections.

"We will have a new member on the school board starting in January of 2014," said present school board president John Wallace. "The current school board thought that it was only fair to allow a new board member to have input on any future levy decisions. Had the current school board chosen to place the income tax on the ballot again as soon as February of 2014, then new board members coming on in January would find themselves facing a levy issue within a month after being elected."

The five year forecast for West Branch, which is required by the State of Ohio, shows the District with a significant shortfall of revenue from the State.

"If we are to continue to offer the same level of service to our students and our community, then we will need additional revenue to make up for the shortfall from the State," according to Dr. Weingart. "We will do our best to communicate with our residents, but there are really only two options for school boards when a school district's revenues are cut. School Boards can seek additional revenue from local residents, or they can reduce services and programs for students. The need is real and it is not going away. Still, the School Board did not want to place a levy issue on the ballot again until residents have had further opportunities to meet and talk with district officials and the current school board."

New School Board Member as of the November 5, 2013, election include: Eric Glista

Returning Board members include: John Wallace and Earl Trimmer

Current School Board members whose terms did not expire this year: Lori McLaughlin and Mikki Kanagy.  

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