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Northeastern tax issue fails again

Issue loses 52 to 48 percent.

Northeastern Local School District voters rejected a five-year, 1-percent earned income tax ballot issue during a special election Tuesday, according to final, unofficial results.

The issue failed by approximately 153 votes with approximately 52 percent of voters rejecting the income tax increase, according to the Clark County Board of Elections.

It’s the fourth time district voters have rejected the tax increase since November of 2012, but it was the closest margin of defeat, said Dr. Lou Kramer, Northeastern’s superintendent.

“There is some solace in that we were a little bit closer than we have been in the past,” Kramer said. “Of course, we’re disappointed in the results.”

If approved, the income tax would have generated approximately $4.1 million per year in revenue. It also would have allowed high school busing to resume before the first day of school Aug. 20.

The district will now turn its focus to the November election. Last week, the board voted to place the exact issue on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Approximately 50 percent of Northeastern’s funding is made up of state money, while the rest is local dollars, Kramer said. The district’s last operating levy was approved in 2004.

“(Local funding) hasn’t changed in 10 years,” Kramer said. “It’s something we have to consider. We have to go back to the ballot in November.”

There are approximately 3,600 students in the district, which operates seven schools on five different campuses, including Northeastern and Kenton Ridge high schools. It is the second-largest public school district in Clark County.

Since May of 2012, the district has cut approximately $2.2 million per year from its budget, pushing back the point at which the district is estimated to enter deficit-spending from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2016. The district has reduced its staff by about 40 jobs since that time, either through attrition or non-renewal of employees.

The defeat won’t stop the district from preparing for the beginning of the school year, Kramer said.

“We’re expecting a fantastic school year,” he said. “We’ll accept nothing short of that.”

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