Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
Voters pass Celina schools levy
By Tom Stankard
CELINA - Fifty-five percent of voters within the Celina School district on Tuesday approved raising the existing 0.75 percent income tax levy to 1 percent.
A total of 1,938 people voted for the levy, while 1,555 people, or 45 percent, voted against it.
The 1 percent income-tax increase will replace the existing 0.75 percent tax beginning in 2019 and will run for five years. The existing levy is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2018. It collects $2.65 million annually. The 0.25 percent increase will generate an additional $885,000 annually for the district.
This levy will not affect residents' fixed-retirement income, district treasurer Tom Sommer has said. Residents earning $25,000 will pay an additional 17 cents per day.
Sommer expects state funding to remain flat for the next two or more years, he has said. As a result, the district could have had a negative fund balance of $410,882 by 2021 if the levy hadn't passed. With its passage, the district could have a positive fund balance of $1.1 million by 2021.
The last time new money was approved for the district was in 2003 when the current 0.75 income tax was initially approved, Sommer has said.
School board member Bill Sell said the board is "very pleased" with the outcome.
"The board will be responsible and frugal with the increase and make sure it is put to good use," he said. "Our goal is to make sure it makes kids prosper."
Superintendent Ken Schmiesing noted money collected from the levy will go into the general fund.
"We're certainly excited about voter turnout and that the handiwork from the committee paid off," he said.