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Voters Give Mixed Results For School Levies
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Voters decided school tax issues in a handful of Central Ohio district on Tuesday. Hilliard and Canal Winchester levies went down to defeat, while voters in Olentangy and Gahanna school districts gave a green light to more money for classrooms.
Other election results, New Albany voters narrowly rejected a proposed tax levy for city parks. Voters in Madison and Mifflin townships in Franklin County approved permanent tax levies for police and fire services. Delaware county voters overwhelmingly approved levies for 9-1-1 service and for developmental disability operations.
Overall 20 percent of eligible voters turned out for the May primary and WOSU’s Sam Hendren reports school issues were the main draw to the polls.
Ben Piscatelli of the Franklin County Board of elections made this prediction before voting began ” You know it’s not unusual when you have a school levy for 50 percent of the voters to turn out in those precincts so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
But Election Day was cold and rainy and by afternoon, Piscatelli was describing the turnout as “slow but steady.” That was indeed the case at the North Orange Aquatic Center in southern Delaware County one of the polling locations where voters were deciding the fate of a levy for Olentangy Local Schools. At times there were no cars in the parking lot, other times voters trickled in and out.
Olentangy Local Schools was seeking a $7.9 million operating levy. That means the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $242 dollars a year in taxes. Kelly Lewis and Rebecca Gutcher say they both voted for the increase. First Kelly Lewis:
“I have four kids – three have graduated from Olentangy Schools and I have one left in there and I know that these are tough economic times but I wanted to support the schools,” Lewis said.
Now Rebecca Gutcher
“This is our community we want to keep it up and running we want our schools to be as good as they can be. So I voted affirmatively” Says Gutcher.
Activity at Community Congregational Church in Gahanna was a bit more steady. Voters were deciding how they would deal with a request from Gahanna-Jefferson Schools for a $5.2 million operating levy which would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $160 more a year in taxes. This is voter Ken Novotny
“I voted for the levy… I think they’ve made a lot of cuts, I see that some teachers have gotten laid off. And I don’t think that’s a good thing. I feel that they need the help,” Novotny said.
But Frank Stasko was adamantly opposed to the increase.
“I think it should be turned down. I think the teachers’ salaries are too high they don’t work like we used to work, you know – 50 some weeks out of the year. They get several days off during their working year and then summertime so considering all of that I think their salaries are just too high compared to retired people which I am and I’m not making any raises or nothing so I’m just going to have to watch out for myself and that’s it,” Stasko said.