Blanchester schools to seek earned income tax levy to meet ‘great need’

Bandow: ‘Great need’ to pass levy

By John Hamilton -

BLANCHESTER — An income tax levy to benefit Blanchester schools is heading for the November ballot.

During a special meeting on Monday night, the board of education approved a resolution for an earned income tax levy for the schools. This levy, if passed, would apply to those who reside in the school district.

According to the Notice of Election provided by the school board, the levy is for an additional annual earned income tax of 1% over a five-year period.

School Board Member Todd Bandow said there is a “great need” for a levy like this.

“We haven’t run an operating levy since 1991,” said Bandow, adding their revenue is the lowest when looking at comparable schools.

Among comparable school districts, Bandow cited Waynesville Schools — a district he said has 50 fewer students than Blanchester — which gets 53.48 percent of its revenue “from locals.” He said Blanchester gets 16 percent of its revenue from taxpayers.

School Board Treasurer Darlene Kassner clarified with attendees that an operating levy basically “pays the bills.”

“It’s opened to be used for anything; trash pick-up, phone bills, salaries, insurance, whatever,” said Kassner.

She also said this would not affect those on Social Security, interest income, or dividend income.

“It’s based on what you earn from a job or a business,” she said.

“We don’t like going to the taxpayers and asking them for money,” Bandow said. “I’m not a big fan of paying any more taxes. But for us to keep the family-style oriented school rooms that we have here … and we have a lot of students that the only smile they see is from their teacher or their bus driver picking them up. We have teachers who go out and make sure students have a Christmas. Not every school is able to do that.”

He said he posted about the levy on Facebook before the meeting and received feedback from people who were “very excited” about it and helping the students.

The resolution was passed in a 4-1 vote, with Board Member John Panetta voting against it.

Also during the meeting:

• The board approved the hiring of Ryan Briggs as the new middle school principal after the resignation of Christopher Smith. Blanchester Superintendent Dean Lynch spoke highly of Briggs, saying he was “by far the best interviewed” and that he is a “good person” as well.

Lynch added he hated to see Smith go given how well he performed during his time with the Blanchester schools.
Bandow: ‘Great need’ to pass levy

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574