Edon Northwest Local Schools Holds Earned Income Tax Informational & Planning Meeting

Edon Earned Income Tax Mtg 03.05.15 - LHF(3) WEBBy: Lucinda Held-Faulhaber
THE VILLAGE REPORTER

Edon Northwest Local Schools officials held an open informational meeting Thursday, March 5, 2015 at Northwest Community Center to review the District’s tax request and to begin laying the groundwork for its upcoming campaign.
Faced with a lot of challenges, none seemingly insurmountable, the District now seeks to generate new revenue monies necessary to stay fiscally sound. “In the early 1980s, the State of Ohio allowed districts to have an income tax to support their school systems,” began Interim Superintendent Dr. John Granger. “At that time, it was a traditional income tax, one that [was levied on all types of income] and taxed everybody. The income tax option this board of education is asking to be approved on May 5 is an earned income only tax ~ a very wise decision, I [feel] made by the board.”
Continuing, Dr. Granger went on to share several facts regarding the Ohio Earned Income Tax for School Districts ~ and more specifically ~ the request made to voters in the Edon Northwest Local School District.
Earned Income Tax Request Facts
for Edon Northwest Local School District
•The proposed tax rate is levied at one percent (1%) on earned income, including self-employment earnings and earnings from partnerships, for individuals residing in the Edon Northwest Local School District.
•The earned income tax passed in May 2015 will be collected for five calendar years 2016 through 2020 commencing January 1, 2016. (This would be the beginning of collection for the school district earned income tax passed in May, August or November.)
•The Edon Northwest Local Board of Education will pay $3,508.33 to the Williams County Board of Elections for this Special Election.
•A school district income tax may only be presented to voters twice each calendar year. If it is presented more than once, one of the times must be the general election.
•It takes eighteen months for the full collection of the earned income tax; the district would receive its first payment (a small payment compared to subsequent payments) in April 2016.
•The earned income tax at one percent (1%) will generate approximately $475,000 per year; this is equivalent to approximately 6.8 mills in property tax.
•When the school district income tax is passed on May 5, property taxes will not be reduced; the earned income tax is an additional tax.
•Passing the earned income tax reduces the potential of increasing property taxes, a benefit to home owners, land owners and retirees.
•If you do not earn wages, you will not pay any earned income tax. This tax proposal is an excellent option for senior citizens and people receiving a pension.
•Dollars generated from the earned income tax may be used to pay for all operating costs, including salaries and benefits.
•The majority of expense for any public school system is related to personnel costs including salaries, retirement costs and benefits. Most school districts in Ohio spend approximately 80% of their total expenditures for personnel costs; personnel cost for the Edon Northwest Local School District is currently at 74.56%. The District is not overspending; revenues have declined over the past few years.
•Ohio school district fiscal years end on June 30. Edon Northwest Local School District is projected to have a general fund balance of $1,230,000 in June 2015; balances of $797,000 in June 2016 and $338,000 in June 2017 are now projected.
•Any Ohio school district with a carry-over balance less than two percent (2%) of the general fund budget will be placed in Fiscal Caution by the Ohio Department of Education. Without additional revenue, the Edon Northwest Local School District is projected for Fiscal Caution during the 2017-2018 school year. Passage of the earned income tax request in May would not only offset the projected fiscal year 2018 deficit but would also help eliminate the possibility of personnel outside the District determining how the District should be run.
•Employers are required by law to withhold the school district income tax from the wage earner’s paycheck.

Frequently Ask Questions Regarding
Edon Northwest Local Schools
Earned Income Tax Request

What income is not considered taxable with the earned income tax?
•Interest
•Dividends
•Capital Gains
•Pensions
•Rental Income
•Lottery winnings
•Income earned by estates

What has happened to the sources of school revenue in recent years?
•Interest revenue has been reduced.
•State foundation money has been reduced.
•Elimination of Tangible Personal Property Tax to Ohio schools. This tax, paid by businesses and industry on equipment, was eliminated in 2005; monies lost were not be made up by the State; each district addresses its own issue of lost funding.
•The Edon Northwest Local School District has not passed additional operating taxation since 1978. Specific bond issues have been passed over the years, but not a levy to operate the school; district monies have been exceptionally handled. The board has a good case in noting the 1978 operating levy has been stretched; it can’t be done any more.

What will happen if the earned income tax request fails on May 5?
•It should be expected that the Board of Education would present another tax request to the voters at the August or November election.
•Future levy requests require more money paid to the Board of Elections.
•A levy request in August would not be an Earned Income Tax; the Earned Income tax could be presented to voters in November.
•Although cuts have been made in the past, there is no immediate plan to reduce cost through cutting programs; the school board will always seek spending reductions through attrition when possible. No Reduction in Force (RIF) is planned if the levy fails in May.

What happens when the earned income tax levy passes?
•The Edon Northwest Local Schools will retain the excellent programs currently in place. Students would remain and not open enroll outside the district.
•The school district will position itself to receive increased state funding by increasing our local share.
•The school district will maintain all transportation without increasing the time students spend riding the bus.
•Manageable class sizes will be maintained.
•Family and Consumer Sciences classes will be re-introduced. Paperwork for state and federal funding has already been filed.
•The school board and administration will continue to serve as conservative fiscal stewards of the tax payers’ money.

With subsequent follow-up questions taken care of, Dr. Granger shifted the meeting’s focus to address the initiative’s next important phase ~ organizing the campaign. Looking to form the campaign’s vital Steering Committee that evening, individuals first joined up with the proposed subcommittee of their choice, including:
•Publications – Develops, writes, prints and releases all information related to the earned income tax along with creating the “brand” for the earned income tax message.
•Outreach – Focuses on voter registration in addition to arranging speaking engagements, personal contact meetings and distributing materials at select locations.
•Website/Social Media – Develops a Website dedicated to the earned income tax request while also releasing information through social media.
•Signs – Places/retrieves small and large signs posted at selected locations (with permission for placement) throughout the District.

At least two volunteers from each subcommittee will form the Steering Committee, seen by Dr. Granger as “the overall committee for the campaign.”
While final Steering Committee responsibilities were being sorted out, Granger confirmed volunteers Cody Best, Erin Nester and Jeff Mills would serve as co-chairs of the Earned Income Tax Campaign; Andy Kiess will assist as Campaign Treasurer.
District residents unable to attend the informational and planning meeting should get in touch with one of the campaign leaders to volunteer their services or to have any questions answered. As always, District residents are also encouraged to contact Board of Education members Jamie Schaffter, Brad McCrea, Aaron Hake, Dave Haase, Dave Wehrle or Superintendent John Granger with any questions, concerns or comments they have regarding the upcoming Earned Income Tax Request.

Lucinda Held-Faulhaber
May be reached at
publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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