West Branch considers program cuts if proposed tax fails - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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West Branch considers program cuts if proposed tax fails

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BELOIT, Ohio - A Mahoning County School District, that has not passed an operational levy in more than 20 years, will try again this May.

If the issue fails the West Branch Local Schools Superintendent Scott Weingart says the district may consider cutting activities and programs that are not mandated by the state.

"The State of Ohio mandates, reading, writing, arithmetic, a lot of the standard things you have in public education. But there are things like art, music and gifted programs, those kinds of things. All of our athletics, all of our co-curricular programs, our plays, our clubs, those kinds of things like that. That really, I think, are the heart of a school district and are very meaningful to the kids that go here and also the community, but those services are not mandated," explained Weingart.

At a meeting Thursday night, levy supporters told the community, that West Branch, like many districts, has seen a cut in state funding. In turn, employees haves gone four years without a raise and the school made more than a $1-million in staffing and operational cuts since 2008.

"If we don't have additional money because of the cut backs by the state, if we don't have additional funding, operational funding, we'll still be in business but it's going to look a lot different than it does now," said Weingart.

The school is proposing a three-quarters of one percent income tax that would last five years. If passed the tax would cost residents $7.50 for every $1,000 they earn. Generating about $2-million for the school, annually.

"The school has done a good job with the funds they've had available to them, hence as a community we need to support the levy," said resident Bill Wallbrown.

"We can't afford it in this area, people are losing their homes to foreclosure," said Resident Michelle Neely.

In November, voters rejected a similar income tax proposal. However, the tax would have been "continuous."

"Last time we did this we heard from a lot of our voters that they just weren't sure with the constant changes in taxation and school funding if they were comfortable looking at something that was permanent. We tried to listen to that so we brought it back this time for 5 years," said Weingart.

 

Listed below are programs and services not required by the state, currently provided by West Branch Schools

  • Clubs and Class Organizations (Pep Club, Academic Challenge, etc.)
  • High School Athletics (Football, Soccer, Volleyball, Cross Country, Tennis, Golf, Basketball, Wrestling, Baseball, Softball, Track Cheerleading)
  • Middle School Athletics (Football, Volleyball, Basketball, Track)
  • Gifted Services
  • Computer/Technology Instruction at the Middle School
  • Business Courses at the High School
  • Offering Two Foreign Languages
  • Plays and Musicals
  • Young and Alive
  • Marching Band
  • Band Concerts
  • Choral Concerts
  • All Day Kindergarten
  • High School Busing
  • Busing K-8 Students who live fewer than two miles from their school
  • Industrial Arts
  • Elementary Art
  • Elementary Music
  • Home Economics (Consumer Science)
  • Vocational Agriculture
  • Technology for Student Learning
  • Daily Cleaning of Buildings
  • Field Trips (Including Busing to Away Games and Activities)
  • All Elective Classes (Psychology, Computer Applications, Web Design)
  • Honors Classes/Dual Credit College Courses at the High School
  • Algebra/Advanced Math at the Middle School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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