Voters in dozens of Ashtabula County precincts dealt a big blow Tuesday to three school levies that took aim at their wallets.
Meanwhile, a .5 percent income tax hike in Geneva-on-the-Lake succeeded by an unofficial 20-vote margin in the county’s special election. The polling involved 81 of the county’s 127 precincts and nearly three-fourths of its eligible voters.
Each of the school districts turned to the voters to help shore up budgets battered by cuts in state funding. In most cases, the levies would have restored some programs that have been cut or are scheduled to be sliced in the 2012-2013 school year.
Eighty-three provisional ballots to be added into the mix aren’t expected to impact any of the outcomes, officials said. Here are the results, which are unofficial until certified by the Ashtabula County Board of Elections:
- Ashtabula Area City Schools — A five-year, 6.4-mill levy was rejected by a 2,191-1,604 margin. The levy would have eliminated pay-to-play for extracurriculars, reinstated three elementary teacher positions and restored foreign language classes. A levy with slightly more millage was rejected by a similar margin in March.
- Geneva Area City Schools — A 10-year, 4.9-mill levy was beaten by a 1,868-1,224 margin. The measure would have raised $1.6 million annually and was meant to “protect and restore programs that are essential to the academic success of our schools,” Superintendent Mary Zappitelli has said.
- Jefferson Area Local Schools — A 10-year, 11.9-mill levy was crushed by a 2,305-534 margin. The levy, which could have reversed some of the $1.5 million operating cuts approved in April, faced organized opposition.
- Geneva-on-the-Lake — A proposed .5 percent income tax increase was approved by a 105-85 count. The tax, designed to help the village maintain services, only applies to earned income and excludes Social Security and retirement earnings, officials have said.
Setbacks weren’t confined to Ashtabula County. In Geauga County, the Chardon Local Schools district saw their 5.95-mill issue rejected by an unofficial 2,845-1,889 margin, while a school levy in Madison was losing late Tuesday night.
Staff writers Shelley Terry and Margie Netzel contributed to this story