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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Effort to repeal school tax in jeopardy


BRYAN - At least eight signers of a petition to put a school income tax repeal on the Nov. 8 ballot say they were misinformed by petition circulators and don't want their signatures counted.

Their protests could set the stage for Williams County Common Pleas Court to decide whether or not the question of repealing Millcreek-West Unity Local School District's 1 percent income tax will appear on the ballot.

A court date of Sept. 12 was set this week, making it the first such case that Williams County Prosecutor Craig Roth said he has seen in his more than 20 years in the prosecutor's office.

To get the repeal off the ballot, the protesters appear to need 28 people who signed the petition, and whose signatures were ruled valid by the county board of elections, to be removed by the court. They have until Tuesday to file protests with the board of elections.

Several of the protests filed this week read much like this one filed by Stanley Ned Horton of rural Alvordton, who wrote: "When I signed the petition to repeal the income tax, I was told that the list would be destroyed if [Ken] Boyer was replaced as superintendent."

Mr. Boyer's contract was not renewed at Millcreek-West Unity, and he is now superintendent of northeast Ohio's Green Local School District, so some protesters say they were surprised that the petitions were filed.

"Either the person asking us to sign the petition was misinformed, or we were lied to," Mr. Horton continued in his letter to the board of elections.

Nothing on the petition that was filed refers to former Superintendent Boyer, the prosecutor said, but he's heard some protesters saw another document related to the petitions that did.

The group seeking to put the repeal on the ballot needs 129 signatures to be ruled valid. It turned in 172. Of those, 156 are considered valid by the county board of elections. But because of the protests, the elections board did not certify the repeal on Tuesday, when it certified the rest of its ballot and turned the matter over to the court.

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