Elmwood tries for two tax renewals


JERRY CITY – The Elmwood School District and levy supporters are asking voters to continue funding the
district through two income taxes, which have been approved each time they appeared on the ballot to
The district is requesting a renewal for its 0.5- and 0.75-percent income taxes, which are set to expire
in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Revenue from the levies generates about 14 percent of the district’s
budget. A "yes" vote will allow the district to collect $635,000 from the 0.5-mill levy and
$952,000 from the 0.75-mill issue.
The proposed levies are an extension of the existing revenue stream that began when the 0.5 was first
approved in 1991 and the 0.75 was approved in 1995. The five-year levies, which fund operation expenses,
have survived each time they came before voters. Since they are renewals, the levies will not cost
residents any additional money.
"The fact that this source of funding is 14 percent of the revenues means that failure to pass it
would almost certainly mean that there would be some very very difficult cuts in programs that would
need to be made," said James Hammer, co-chair of the Citizens for Elmwood levy committee.
The district treasurer, LuAnn Vanek, stated in the district’s five-year forecast that the income taxes
have produced a substantial carryover balance for the general fund along with state funding. Renewal of
the levies is "of vital importance" the district’s financial health, she wrote.
The levy committee believes the district has benefited from previous renewals of the levy. Elmwood has
maintained and Effective state rating since 2005, and the committee believes renewed funding will help
the district achieve an Excellent designation next year.
A staffing analysis by Ohio Department of Education consultants found that Elmwood spends somewhere close
to the median amount per student for services. Hammer said the staffing analysis and the recent
district-wide phone survey, which included 422 respondents, show that Elmwood provides quality services
at the current spending level. Superintendent Steve Pritts shared the same view of the data at a board
meeting earlier this month.
Hammer added that relying on a combination of income and property taxes is generally regarded as a fairer
way to fund a school district than relying exclusively on property taxes.
So far, the committee has conducted a district-wide mailing campaign, created an informational Web site,
distributed yard signs and placed phone calls to registered votes.
Most comments from residents, he said, concern how much the district may depend on the levy as well as
concerns about funding levies during a tough economic period. He said committee members are sympathetic
to economic difficulties but also try to remind voters that the district is not asking for new taxes.

He also pointed to information in the committee’s brochure which shows that Elmwood approaches voters
significantly less than several other nearby districts.
"The school district is attempting to live within its means," he said.
The staffing analysis another information about the levy is available through the committee’s Web site at

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