Inform Voters About Levies

A public forum next Monday will provide voters in four East Ohio school districts with the opportunity to learn a little about tax levy proposals to be decided during the Nov. 6 election. But “a little” may be the extent of knowledge they gain about the ballot issues.

Officials of the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School systems will be present at the forum, to be held from 6-7 p.m. at the JVS cafeteria. They plan to discuss progress in their districts and outline levy proposals. They also will take questions from the public.

But one hour does not seem like much time to discuss four separate school levy proposals, with requests for varying amounts of taxes and plans to use the proceeds for different initiatives.

Here is the lineup of levy proposals to be discussed at the forum:

Buckeye Local school officials are seeking an additional 2-mill property tax for permanent improvements.

Edison Local officials want an additional 9.5-mill tax to support day-to-day operations.

Indian Creek’s proposal is more complex. There, an additional 1.45-mill tax is being requested for operations, with a separate 3.5-million tax for constructing new facilities.

The Joint Vocational School board is asking for a 1-mill tax for operations, new equipment and building improvements.

Officials from the four districts are to be commended for arranging the forum, in an attempt to make dissemination of information about the levy proposals more efficient.

But the four plans are complicated, with vastly different impacts on both schools and taxpayers. It seems overly optimistic to expect that if there is much interest in the levy proposals, an hour will be adequate to inform the public about all four.

School officials should provide other opportunities for the public to hear presentations on the levy proposals – and ask questions about them. With only about a month to go before the election, ensuring voters believe they have been well informed is critical.