GRAHAM SCHOOL BOARD: LEVY CANNOT WAIT, NEED IS URGENT
DATE POSTED: December
13, 2017normal'>SAINT PARIS, OH- After the failure of the November ballot issue, the Graham School
Board unanimously voted to return immediately to the ballot in May for a 1%
earned income tax. The earned income tax issue is the same as the November
request except this time the need is more urgent and cuts will occur
immediately if the levy does not pass.
normal'> normal'>“This is a lean request and frankly it still doesn’t provide all
that we need,” stated Steve Setty, board president. “That’s how lean this
request is, and that’s how urgent the need is. Without additional funds, we
simply cannot afford to operate at the same level, and cuts will need to be
made. This is the stark fiscal reality of what we are facing.”
normal'> normal'>In the district’s case, approximately $1.5 million would need to
be cut if the May 8 levy does not pass. Superintendent Kirk Koennecke stressed
that with a budget as lean and small as Graham’s, this represents a serious hit
for the district.
normal'> normal'>Graham Local is already running lean. Any cuts made would be in
addition to the $2.35 million cut in 2011-12, and additional cost savings
measures enacted since that time. That round of cuts saw the loss of
twenty-four teachers, along with other support and administrative staff, along
with academic programs.
normal'> normal'>“The need did not go away with the November failure, and it will
not go away with a May failure either,” stated Koennecke. “Instead, it only
worsens things. It affects our schools, the education we can provide, our
community and ultimately opportunities for our students. There is urgency to
get this done with the May election.”
normal'> normal'>It has been 24 years since the district asked for and passed a
ballot issue for operating funds.
normal'>A 1% earned income tax issue would tax earned income only.
Retirement, Social Security, pensions and similar forms are not
considered earned income and are exempt from the tax. Even with the passage of
a levy, Graham would continue to have among the lowest operating tax rate
in the 7 county area, and the lowest per pupil expenditure in the area.
normal'> normal'>If the levy passes, then the district can maintain the same, lean
quality of education. If it fails, the district will need to examine and enact
cuts immediately after the May election. As for what those cuts
specifically are, the board is working with the district to determine those
measures with an announcement expected in January. Cuts would be effective
after the May election and into the following school year.
normal'> “This is not a discussion that any of us wanted to have and all options
are on the table right now. It is impossible to say that it would not be
detrimental to our schools or to students. There is just no way around it,”
noted Setty. “We will continue to communicate with the community about the
seriousness of this levy in an open and transparent way. These schools belong to
all of us, and the May election will determine what we want our schools and
community to look like.”