Graham Local Schools income tax fails

Tyler Wooten, a sophomore at Graham High School studies for an exam in his English class. Bill Lackey/Staff

caption arrowCaption
Tyler Wooten, a sophomore at Graham High School studies for an exam in his English class. Bill Lackey/Staff

A new income tax for Graham local schools failed by a wide margin Tuesday night.

Voters struck down the issue 61 percent against to 39 percent for it, according to final, unofficial results from the Champaign County Board of Elections.

MORE: Champaign County district looks to put income tax on ballot

The 1 percent tax on earned income would have cost someone making $30,000 annually about $300 a year.

“While it is not the outcome that we wanted, we worked hard to communicate and reach residents with information about the financial stress our district is under,” Superintendent Kirk Koennecke said. “I wish to thank our caring volunteers, teachers, staff and community supporters. They did a fantastic job. They hit the streets, talked with their neighbors and they did it for the single reason they want what is best for our Graham community.”

If approved, it would have generated about $1.9 million a year. That would have been added to the school’s current annual budget of $18 million.

RELATED: Champaign County district puts 1 percent income tax on ballot

The school will have to make tough financial decisions, Koennecke said.

“The need did not go away with the failure of this levy,” he said. “The district has not had new operating dollars in over 24 years and the budget will remain strained. It will take some time, however, to assess the next steps and to determine what it means operationally for the district.”

The board will take some time to decide if they will go back on the ballot, the superintendent said.

“Our children deserve to be competitive,” Koennecke said.

About the Author