Apparently Jefferson County Joint Vocational School officials believe the fourth time may be the charm. After watching voters defeat a property tax proposal three times, JVS officials plan to place it on the ballot again in November.
Their strategy may make sense. As district Superintendent Dale Edwards explained, support for the tax levy proposal seems to grow each time it is submitted to voters. "The first time, we lost by 2,500 or so votes. The second time was 1,500 and this last election in March was close to 500," he said during a meeting earlier this year.
In agreeing to put the levy proposal on the ballot again Nov. 6, JVS officials decided to focus public awareness efforts on areas where voter support has lagged.
Often, school boards that continue trying, election after fruitless election, to pass levies are accomplishing nothing other than spending taxpayers' money. But as Edwards points out, it seems the JVS plan gains support as more people learn about it.
The proposal is for a 1-mill levy to generate $1.1 million a year during a 10-year period. The money would be used for buildings and equipment.
Vocational schools often have to devote a substantial amount of money to equipment needed to train students, especially during periods when technological advances are frequent. And the JVS has clear infrastructure needs, including for a new roof on its building. That project alone has an estimated cost of $1.5 million.
Voters in many areas of East Ohio have not been kind to school officials seeking approval of tax levies during recent years. But Edwards and JVS officials may have a valid point in their contention that if voters can be educated, they will approve the measure in November. They are right to try the levy one more time.