Voters say ‘no’ to new school funding, ‘yes’ to renewals

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Voters in the Austintown Local School District soundly defeated a request for money to build a new high school, defeating a 4.1-mill bond issue that would have cost the average homeowner about $12 more per month.

According to complete but unofficial results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections, the bond issue was defeated by a margin of 66 to 34 percent.

The total project cost is $77 million and $37 million would have come from the local bond issue. Taxpayers also were being asked to spend additional $9 million to renovate the auditorium, gymnasium and football stadium.

The high school was built in 1968 and although it is well maintained, there are major structural issues, such as a leaking ceiling and a malfunctioning heating and cooling system.

The district recently built a new elementary school and intermediate school on the same campus as the high school, shuttering several elementary schools scattered throughout the township. It also built a new middle school about 10 years ago.

An 8.85-mill bond issue for the Mathews Local School District also was soundly defeated by a margin of 58 to 42 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

The bond issue would have paid for the school district’s share of a state project to build a new K-12 building to replace three current buildings. Voters also were being asked to approve a .05-mill levy to maintain the new building.

The bond issue would have raised approximately $24 million over the next 37 years and would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $327 a year.

The high school is nearly 100 years old and the elementary schools, Currie and Baker, are broken up into two buildings. One is Kindergarten-through-2nd grade and the other 3rd through 6th.

The state has said the district’s buildings are among the worst in the state. Voters previously rejected the issue in 2009.

Also in Trumbull County, Howland voters defeated a 3.9-mill additional levy to upgrade classroom technology and security systems, as well as provide all-day kindergarten. The levy lost by a margin of 55 to 45 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

School officials said previously a defeat would mean staffing layoffs and service cutbacks.

The levy would have cost an additional $135 per year for every $100,000 of home valuation. It had been 11 years since the district has sought additional funds.

Voters in the Southington Local School District narrowly defeated an emergency levy in November by 200 votes and the result was much the same on Tuesday. The 4.9-mill operating levy was defeated by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent and losing by 177 votes, according to complete but unofficial results from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

Voters in the West Branch Local School District in western Mahoning County overwhelmingly rejected a 0.75 percent sales tax to reduce the district’s deficit and balance the budget. The issue was defeated by a margin of 70 percent to 30 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

The income tax would have generated more than $2 million annually. The district’s projected deficit by the 2015-16 school year is $1 million.

The income tax would have been for five years because voters overwhelming rejected a continuing income tax in November. School officials said previously that substantial cuts to personnel and services will be needed if the issue failed.

In Columbiana County, voters are being asked to approve a 5.3-mill emergency renewal levy for the Beaver Local School District. The levy would generate $1.2 million annually for five years.

In 2012, voters passed a bond issue to build a new K-12 building on a 10-acre site on Bell School Road in Lisbon. Construction has begun.

Other districts seeking levies include:

  • Two renewal levies in the Boardman Local School District passed by comfortable margins of 60 percent to 40 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections. One levy is for five years and one is for three.
  • Poland voters passed a 2.9-mill levy to raise more than $1 million for the school district. The issue passed 69 percent to 31 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
  • Voters in the Springfield Local School District said no to a 1 percent income tax renewal by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
  • United Local School District voters renewed a five-year, 3-mill permanent improvement levy to bring in $182,500 annually. The issue passed by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Columbiana County Board of Elections. The money will used for window replacements, new buses, junior high gym improvements, outside LED security lighting, a new fire alarm system, boiler replacement , technology upgrades and textbooks. The money cannot be used for salaries or benefits.
  • Wellsville voters overwhelmingly voted to renew a five-year, 2.5-mill permanent improvement levy that will generate $15,900 each year. The issue passed by a margin of 73 percent to 27 percent, according to complete but unofficial results from the Columbiana County Board of Elections.

Election results are unofficial

 

 

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