ST. MARYS — Auglaize County residents voted for the St. Marys 1 percent replacement income tax levy Tuesday, believing that the district needed the money to keep needed programming for the students to better themselves.
The five-year, 1 percent income tax levy for operating expenses will generate close to $2.6 million a year for the school, said St. Marys Superintendent Bill Ruane.
“I’m very excited for the kids to have great opportunities that will help shape them to become leaders and have the best educational opportunities to develop and grow,” said Ruane. “I also appreciate the community’s support and those who were involved in the Citizens for St. Marys Schools campaign. The parents, community members and staff did a tremendous job with getting information out to people.”
The levy will be used for daily operations and will help retain extracurricular activities and electives, such as choir or the agriculture program.
“We have a diverse group of students with various abilities, and through our programs and classes, a lot of students find their passion in life,” said Ruane.
Approximately 56 percent, or 3,082 voters, of voters were in favor, while 44 percent, or 2,451 voters, turned it down.
This was not the district’s first levy proposal this year. The district also requested a five-year, 1.5 percent tax on earned income in May, which had failed.
John Ball, of St. Marys, said he was against the St. Marys schools levy because the school requested too much and feared his property taxes going up.
“They want too much money,” said Ball. “I’ve had enough of that. What about the people on Social Security? They can’t afford to have their property taxes go up. They have to come up with something better than that and find a way to earn the money themselves.”
St. Marys resident Nancy Nevarez voted for the levy because she believed the funding would be essential for retaining programming for the children.
“If they have the money, it will give the students more structure,” said Nevarez. “It gives them something to look forward to and stay in school because a lot of kids don’t have anything else other than the sports that they are in.”
Jacob Huber, another St. Marys resident, also thought the funding would be beneficial for the growth of the students.
“The kids need the levy,” said Huber. “If it fails, they would lose everything. They will just have core classes, and that does not get you anywhere in life. You need to have those skills.”
Ruane said that, moving forward, the school district will do a better job with building a rapport with residents.
“We want to continue to find ways to unify the community,” said Ruane. “We have to be responsive moving forward to gain the trust of all community members to have a stable financial situation so that we can attract and retain the best teachers, administrators and staff.”
A total of 19,162 ballots were cast in Auglaize County, representing just under 60 percent of registered voters.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.