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It was a good day for Ohio school levies

It was a good day for Ohio school levies

(Columbus) - Voters across Ohio approved 116 of 192 school tax issues during Tuesday's election.

“The overall results for this election are positive, with a 60% passage rate,” said Ohio School Boards Association Director of Legislative Services Damon Asbury. “It appears that our voting public understands that local support is a critical part of the schoolfunding equation.”

The passage rate for school issues Tuesday is largely consistent with previous years. Ohio voters approved 105 of 192 school tax issues in November 2012, a passage rate of 55%.

Fifty-one percent of school tax issues were approved in November 2011 and 62% were approved in November 2009, the last two off-year general elections.

Forty-two of 116 new school tax issues were approved on Tuesday, a passage rate of 36%. Seventy-four of 76 school tax renewal issues were approved, a passage rate of 97%. Asbury says both numbers are normal compared to the last decade.

Faced with funding challenges, declining revenues and a difficult economy, many school districts are forced to turn to their local communities for support.

Ohio schools that failed to get their issues approved will likely be forced to make difficult budget decisions, including new rounds of cuts.

“While there are signs the economy is improving in Ohio, many school districts in the state continue to experience funding challenges,” said OSBA Executive Director Richard Lewis.

“In many cases, school districts have no choice but to turn to their communities to help maintain the high-quality instruction and services residents have come to expect.”

Some school tax issues approved on Tuesday will not qualify for the 10% and 2.5% rollback property taxpayers have experienced for decades. The state budget approved by lawmakers this summer eliminated the rollback for new and replacement levies beginning in November.

The rollback was adopted in conjunction with the implementation of the income tax in the 1970s; some school leaders worry its elimination will make ballot issues harder to pass.

The OSBA says the elimination of the rollback means more of the tax burden will be shifted from the state to local residents.

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