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Voters Approve Income Tax Hike For Shaker Heights, Levy For Buckeye Schools

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 11:56 PM

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Residents of Shaker Heights handily approved a .5 percent increase to their income tax, while Medina County area voters ended a nearly 20-year losing streak for Buckeye Schools. Most districts didn’t fare as well. Ideastream’s Brian Bull has more.

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Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken, who promoted the income tax increase (pic by Brian Bull). Shaker Heights City Hall (pic by Brian Bull).

(Correction: A previous version of this story stated that residents will pay about 22 percent more than they currently do.  The actual percentage increase is close to 30 percent.)

About two-thirds of Shaker Heights voters approved the income tax hike, the first since 1981.  Residents will now pay about 30-percent more, which officials say is necessary to offset a $6-million deficit caused largely by the repeal of the estate tax, and the loss of local government fund support. 

Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken says last night’s outcome sends a clear message.

“That when Shaker residents are struck with adversity as we were by the actions of the state legislature in taking away our estate tax and other state funding, that Shaker residents stand up and rise to the occasion and support their community.”

It was also a good night for Buckeye Schools.  The majority of voters backed a 7.9 mill levy, the first levy passed since 1994. 

Superintendent Brian Williams says after twelve failed attempts, school officials, families, and students really made the case that they needed to offset a $1.3 million deficit.  Williams says despite the hardship Buckeye Schools has endured, they still managed to maintain a level of excellence through the years. 

“I hope that people have seen that we have been responsible with the money that we did have to that point,” says Williams. “We’ve made lots of cuts to our school district, and it got to the point where there was nothing left to cut.  We had a plan in place that if this levy failed, we were approaching state minimum in many areas.  And I think our community just realized that state minimum wasn’t good enough, they didn’t want state minimum for their kids.”

Other school districts including Clear Fork Valley, Dalton, and Brecksville-Broadview Heights also got levies approved.  But the vast majority lost out last night, including Chardon and Madison. 

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Community/Human Interest, Education, Government/Politics

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