COVENTRY TWP. It's back to the drawing board for Coventry Local School District officials as voters once again said no to a tax increase.
This time, it was a five-year, 1 percent earned income tax proposal.
With all precincts unofficially counted, the tax measure – Issue 7 – was soundly defeated with 2,037 voting against the tax increase and 1,164 for it.
The income tax was placed on the ballot as a way to help the Coventry Local Schools’ quest to get out from fiscal emergency. The tax increase would have brought in about $2.6 million and add approximately $600,000 a year in new revenue.
"First, I would like to thank the Coventry Board of Education for attempting to fund the schools in a different way, other than the traditional property tax," said Coventry Superintendent Lisa Blough. "Even though the idea wasn't well received in the end, at least they were willing to give our community the option and the opportunity to have a voice.
"With that being said, of course I am disappointed in the final outcome of the election. However, the facts remain the same. The financial concerns still exist, and the district must take steps to overcome these issues. Therefore, in the near future, the board and I will being sit down to discuss the next steps. The direction we go from here is vitally important to the future of Coventry Schools."
The decision to place an income tax increase on the ballot was met with controversy. If passed, those who live in the district and work in another community with an income tax still would have to pay the tax that the community and Coventry Schools. For example, someone living in Coventry Crossing, who currently pays 2.5 percent income tax to the city of Akron, would continue to pay that in addition to 1 percent to Coventry Local Schools.
The school district includes not only Coventry Township, but portions of of the cities of Akron, Barberton and New Franklin.
Blough, however, has said the income tax was the best avenue for the district to pursue because it would take the burden away from those who are retired or living on fixed incomes, such as those receiving disability benefits.
If it would have passed, the district planned to drop one of its nine current levies. It also would not to seek to renew a 2015 emergency property tax levy.