The income tax levy is an operations levy, and as such the revenue generated would support the day-to-day operations of the district.

Alexander Local School District Seeks Passage of Income Tax Levy

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For the first time in 25 years, the Alexander Local School District is proposing an income tax levy. Residents of Athens, Meigs, and Vinton Counties will vote on the November 8th ballot either for or against the tax levy, with a majority vote “for” required for passage.

The tax levy is a 1.5% earned income tax, which will only effect those who live in the Alexander School District and are working. The tax will not apply to anyone on a fixed income such as social security, disability, or pensions. Those residing in communities including Albany, Shade, New Marshfield, and Columbia Township will be impacted by the tax.

Alexander School Board President Fred Davis said this is an operating levy, which means that all the funds generated from it would go toward day-to-day operations for the district: paying personnel, operating bus routes, etc.

The blue line outlines the Alexander Local School District.
The blue line outlines the Alexander Local School District.

Davis acknowledged that the tax could put financial stress on those residing in the school district, but encourages those who would vote against the levy to consider that their money would be going directly into the community where they live .

“I wouldn’t argue with anyone that feels they’re being taxed enough already. But I would also say of all the taxes you pay, I would rather pay my taxes locally, benefiting our kids and our community.”

What Will Happen If the Levy Fails?

Alexander Superintendent Lindy Douglas has lived in the community for 45 years, since she was 5 years old. She noted that time has changed both the community she lives in and the cost of education.

“The Alexander community has grown over time, and I think you have generations of children that have gone through that system. We can’t keep educating and raising kids on what we did 25 years ago. The cost of education has increased, just like the cost of raising a family. I think that really needs to be considered.”

Douglas emphasized that the passage of the levy will mean business as usual for the district.

If the levy passes, we will continue doing what we’re doing. We will keep all the courses that we offer right now. It’s an operating levy, so it will allow us to keep the status quo. It will allow us to not make cuts like we have in the past to balance the budget, and it will allows us to keep the staff to student ratio as it is.”

If the levy fails, Douglas said that the district may have to make spending cuts.

Faculty, transportation, and additional programs that are offered outside of the school day- those will have to be looked at.”

Signs like these dot the landscape in the community of Albany, indicating the support of the school district some Albany residents are displaying.
Signs like these dot the landscape in the community of Albany, indicating the support of the school district some Albany residents are displaying.

Although cuts may have to be made, Douglas feels confident the levy will succeed.

“I’ve been out in the community talking to people and talking to local business owners, a lot of community members. I hear a lot of positive feedback. There’s a lot of pride there.”

Doubts About District Spending

While Douglas believes the levy will pass, some residents have their doubts about how the school spends money.

Thad Dye, father to the owners of Libby’s Pumpkin Patch in Albany, says he will likely vote in favor of the school’s levy, but questions some of the district’s financial decisions.

The main building at Libby's Pumpkin Patch.
The main building at Libby’s Pumpkin Patch.

“I want to study how they spend their money a little bit. Some of the things I’ve seen them do I haven’t quite approved of.”

Despite his doubts about some of the district’s revenue spending choices, Dye likes the fact that this levy is income-based, rather than an increase on property tax.

“I think that’s an improvement over putting it on property tax. When they put it on property taxes it’s a burden to farmers and to property owners here, and I don’t think it gets spread out to all the people that will be using the education system. ”

Some people in the district expressed concerns that the revenue raised from the increase in taxes will go toward the new wellness center being built on the school grounds, but Davis wants to ensure voters that’s not the case.

“The new wellness center we’re building, that’s a completely different situation than the levy as far as operating cost. We’ve fronted some money to get the project started, but it will be finished through our boosters club and through donations.”

What Do Alumni Think?

Lydia Douglas, Alexander graduate and the daughter of Superintendent Lindy Douglas, supports the levy.

“Personally, I think it’s a good thing. And a lot of people that I’ve heard from also feel the same. I don’t have any children that go to the school, but in the future, I will.”

Lydia Douglas feels that even residents who don’t have children currently enrolled in the school system should vote for the levy.

“Even if you don’t have children that go to Alexander, you know someone that does or you know someone that works there. It’s a very small and tight-knit community.”

Douglas, who graduated in 2010 and now works at All About You Hair & Tanning in Albany, is grateful to the school district for the education she received.

“Alexander definitely gave me a good education and prepared me for the real world. And they did all they could to push us in the right direction and have us prepared for leaving this little community.”