West Jefferson school tax up for renewal


(Posted June 14, 2018)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

As state resources continue to dwindle, the Jefferson Local School District plans to ask voters to continue their support of a 1 percent income tax.

During a June 11 meeting, the school board unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with renewal of the tax approved by the community in 2014, which first appeared as a 0.5 percent increase.

It was the first time in 20 years the board asked for new money.

The current request, slated for the Nov. 6 general election ballot, remains at 1 percent and is only collected on earned income. It does not tax retirement income, pensions, social security, certificates of deposit, or savings.

Revenue from the income tax helps to maintain a balance in the district’s tax structure, avoids a complete reliance on property taxes, and provides a measure of relief for senior citizens on fixed incomes.

“I believe we are making great strides in education in the district, and we want to continue to positively impact academics in the district,” said board member Dr. Meg Hiss.

“It’s very difficult in this day and age to manage a district with less money coming from the state. So much more has been shifted from the state and put on local shoulders to educate our children.”

In other presentations, Emmy Beeson, superintendent at Tolles Career & Technical Center, reported on the center’s activities as they relate to Jefferson Local Schools. She noted that 48 West Jefferson students were enrolled at Tolles during the 2017-18 school year.

“You certainly send a good number of kids,” Beeson told the board.

A Tolles marketing and logistics satellite program housed in the West Jefferson middle/high school complex impacted 233 local students. Beeson reported that approximately a quarter of the district’s juniors and seniors attend Tolles.

School board President David Harper, who also serves as the district representative on the Tolles board, said 22 Jefferson Local students received certificates from Tolles during a recent graduation ceremony.

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