I hope other Gahanna residents join me in voting “no” on Issue 2. This issue will raise the portion of our property taxes dedicated to the schools by more than 14 percent.
In 2014, we passed a Gahanna-Jefferson permanent-improvements levy that was to be used exclusively for building repairs, buses and technology. Then in 2016, the school district’s teachers received a 2.25 percent raise and another 3 percent step increase in their new contract. Now we are being asked to raise our taxes again, and we are being told that the money will be used to provide “operating funds” for the district. There is no mention that according to the Buckeye Institute, 80 percent of every dollar in the general fund goes to pay teacher salaries and benefits. Many of which (salary, health care, vacation) are better than what the residents who pay the taxes receive.
That the Gahanna-Jefferson schools do an excellent job is not in dispute. But salaries that rise faster than the rate of inflation and benefits that exceed those of the average resident in Gahanna need to be brought under control or the cycle of deficit, levy, deficit, levy, deficit, levy will only continue.
The district’s leaders need to understand that the financial resources of the taxpayers are not unlimited and high property taxes already place an unfair burden on the average resident.