Three area districts join Stark ESC in levy request

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CARROLL COUNTY – Three school districts which include portions of Carroll County have agreed to be part of 17 school districts participating in a tax levy request for school safety and security improvements and mental health assistance.

In a 4-0 vote at the April 16 meeting, the Sandy Valley Local School District Board of Education approved two separate resolutions supporting school safety and reducing violence in schools along with placing a 1.49-mill additional property tax levy on an Aug. 7 special election ballot.

According to SV School Supt. David Fisher, a bill signed into law March 30 by Gov. John Kasich allows Service Centers such as the Stark County Education Service Center (ESC) to create a financing district with the sole purpose of addressing safety, security and mental health.

Fisher said the 1.49-mill levy will cost the homeowner of a $100,000 home roughly $52.15 annually or approximately $1 per week for a continuous period of time.

He said the Sandy Valley Local School District believes this is a small price to pay to protect our students. “The story goes that a rising tide lifts all boats, so too, this levy will lift all of our district to support the safety and security of all of our students,” Fisher added.

If passed, the tax would be split among school districts on a per-pupil amount currently around $228 per student, Fischer explained.

“The funding can only be used for safety, security and/or mental health services,” he said.

These areas could include, but are not limited to: School resource officers, hiring mental health counselors and social workers, hiring additional family support specialists and upgrading school facilities to increase security measures.

Similar resolutions were approved by the Minerva Local and Brown Local Boards of Education at meetings held April 16 and April 9, respectively.