Voters in the Northridge Local School District will decide Tuesday whether to approve a 1 percent income tax renewal.

Voters in the Northridge Local School District will decide Tuesday whether to approve a 1 percent income tax renewal.

In May, voters rejected a ballot issue that would have made the 1 percent income tax permanent. This time, the renewal would be for a five-year period only, as it has been in the past.

The ballot language states: "Shall an annual income tax of one percent on the school district income of individuals and of estates be imposed by the Northridge Local School District, Licking, Delaware, and Knox Counties, OH, to renew an income tax expiring at the end of 2010, for five (5) years, beginning January 1, 2011, for the purpose of providing for the current operating expenses of the School District?"

Parent organizations have worked with the district to sponsor forums throughout the community to answer residents' questions about the levy. Treasurer Jim Hudson has said that, compared to many districts around the state that face dire financial conditions, Northridge has reasonably balanced its revenues and expenses and should be in good shape if the existing tax is renewed.

Among the factors Hudson cites in the district's favor is that its teachers and staff bear a much larger percentage of their health insurance premiums - 30 percent - than many other districts where staff is asked to pay 10 percent or less.

Noting that several residents had asked whether the income tax levy affects property taxes, Hudson said it does not.

The district operates on an annual budget of approximately $13-million, consisting of about $6.8-million in property tax, $1.8-million in income tax, and $4.4-million in state funding. The income tax provides about 17 percent of the district's operating budget. If it is not renewed, the district would suffer a lapse in income that could cause significant cuts by the end of the school year after the tax expires on Dec. 31.

"Without the renewal, we'd have a positive fund balance through 2013," Hudson said previously. "Our first negative fund balance would be $2.6-million in 2014. To avoid that, we'd need other revenue or to reduce programs. We would not wait until 2014 to cut $2.6-million. We'd spread that out over 2012 to 2014."

Salaries and benefits always make up the largest component of expenditures in any school district. Base pay increases last year were 0 percent, and Hudson projected 0 percent again this year, although negotiations are under way since a one-year contract expired in June.