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Published: Wednesday, 3/13/2002

Pike-Delta-York schools agree to pursue income tax

DELTA - The Pike-Delta-York Board of Education agreed last night to ask voters for an income tax in a meeting where state regulators told the board the district employs more teachers than comparable school districts.

The board unanimously decided to tell state education regulators that it will pursue passage of an income tax and examine budget efficiencies.

The district must file a plan with the Ohio Department of Education because its spending plan submitted to the state this winter predicted a deficit.

The board did not decide whether to ask for a 1 percent or 0.75 percent tax or whether to put the request on the Aug. 6 or Nov. 5 ballot. It would need to file the tax request with the Fulton County Board of Elections by mid May for the August election or by mid August for the November election.

The Pike-Delta-York district never has had an income tax. A request in the early 1990s was rejected by voters.

But several board members said an income tax is fairer than increased property taxes to retired people and farmers who own land and buildings, but might not have high incomes.

β€œIt's not fair for the property owners to pay all the tax,” board member Donna Puehler said. β€œI think that an income tax would have a better chance.”

Pike-Delta-York employs 14 more teachers than the average comparable district, according to the Ohio Department of Education. Swanton and Otsego are among the 10 schools that the state used as a comparison group for Pike-Delta-York.

The district employs 39 more teachers and instructional staff than required by the state. The board took no action on the report.

In a controversial efficiency move earlier this winter, the board had decided not to offer semester-length electives that draw less than 12 students and year-long electives that enroll less than 20.

Pike-Delta-York began taking in less money than it was spending more than three years ago, Treasurer Deb Ford said. It has a carryover projected to last until fiscal year 2004, which starts July 1, 2003.

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