ORANGE TOWNSHIP — Voters said “no” at the ballots Tuesday to an income tax levy meant to bolster Mapleton School District, according to final unofficial tallies from the Ashland County Board of Elections.
The five-year additional 0.75% income tax levy failed by 16 percentage points. There were 623 votes cast against it and 451 in support.
The district said the levy is needed to avoid deficits and to maintain or expand opportunities for students in a number of programs.
Superintendent Scott Smith said he and his colleagues are disappointed the levy didn't pass, but that the district "remains committed to providing a family atmosphere, expanding opportunities for all students, providing adequate student services with an emphasis on the individual student, and providing honest communication and transparency."
But, he said, that job will be harder.
"Difficult decisions, that will require a combination of reductions and increases in fees, will need to be made immediately," he said. "No final decisions regarding specific reductions have been made at this time, but approximately $250,000 in reductions will need to occur for the 2023-2024 schools year to avoid deficit spending.
"This will significantly impact the level of services we will be able to provide our students and families."
He thanked the board of education, administrative staff and participants of the "Time for Mapleton" levy committee for their "time and effort to get the levy information out to the community."
Smith has said a deficit of $44,333 could occur this year without the levy. The gap grows to $159,646 in 2024, $294,000 in 2025 and nearly $484,000 in 2026.
Potential reductions include cuts to staff, field trips and the Little Mountie STEM Preschool. It would also likely mean increases to academic and athletic fees and fees associated with extracurricular transportation.
This marks the second time a new levy has failed in the school district.
The district tried to pass a five-year 3.2 mills property tax levy last May. It would have generated $500,000 annually, but it failed by 32 percentage points, according to Ashland County Board of Election records.