A tax levy to fund the East Knox local school district’s operating expenses passed by a margin of nearly 300 votes on Election Day this Tuesday.
The additional tax revenue will fund school operations like reviving elementary art and music programs, adding special education resources, and high school Advanced Placement classes. The fund will also be used to elimate participation fees to play sports and increasing staff salaries; there has been no base salary increase for all employees for seven years, according to the district’s October 2016 financial update.
The levy, which won 53 percent of the vote, would raise monthly taxes by $13 for the next 10 years, raising $1.2 million annually to cover expenses for which the district’s revenue is currently insufficient, according to WMVO and the Mount Vernon News. When a 2014 tax levy failed to pass, Ohio’s Auditor of State placed the school district in a state of fiscal emergency, and a financial planning and supervision commission was appointed to address the financial crisis.
Ben Douglas ’18, the co-administrative chair of The Partnership of East Knox and Kenyon College (PEKK), said he was “ecstatic” that the levy passed. PEKK brings Kenyon students to East Knox schools to lead activities and connect with local students. PEKK, with the aid of Jacob Hopkins ’18, phone banked and canvassed to encourage Knox County residents to vote for the levy.
“If we had a study hall, we’d just kind of want to find out what it is the East Knox students want,” Douglas said. “A lot of what they say is just more money to run our schools, because the students know that they’re missing out on resources, and that the only way to get it is to get more money.”
PEKK will host a discussion with East Knox superintendent Steve Larcomb on the levy’s impact on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Higley Hall.