Norwalk schools votes 3-2 to take earned income to voters

Board unable to agree, puts issue on ballot anyway.
Cary Ashby
Jul 23, 2013


Norwalk City Schools will be taking an earned income levy to the voters in the November ballot.

But Tuesday’s 3-2 decision during the special board meeting didn’t come without a lot of discussion — and the same vote going down about 15 minutes earlier. In the final vote, board members Janet Broz, Steve Linder and Ralph Ritzenthaler supported the decision while John Lendrum and Rob Ludwig voted against it.

The 1.25-percent earned income tax would replace the present half-percent tax and last a “continuing amount of time.”

“I’m in favor of the earned income tax,” Broz said, but added it’s obvious there are strong opinions for it and the other option, a 6-mill property tax worth $1.85 million.

The property tax would have lasted five years. When the earned income option went before the board first, the vote was split 2-2 with Broz having said she wouldn’t vote on any levy unless there was a unanimous decision.

At that point, Broz made a motion for adjourning the meeting, but the vote failed. Broz, the board president, and Linder had the supporting votes.

Later, the board decided to vote about sending the property tax to the voters. That went down 3-2 with Lendrum and Ludwig supporting it.

“I truly wasn’t seeing this,” Superintendent Dennis Doughty said at that point.

Doughty, after the meeting, declined to comment about the outcome and referred the Reflector to board members.Ritzenthaler, who had voted for the property taxes during the last two elections, has supported the earned income option since last week’s regular board meeting.

“I just feel the people need another option,” he said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Ritzenthaler, Broz and Linder said the best option is doing “something different.”

“I feel deeply the property tax will go down,” Linder said during the meeting. “We owe it to the people to do something different.”

Lendrum and Ludwig said they couldn’t support the earned income tax because it’s not equitable, “unending,” is “carving out one segment of the community” and “there’s no cap on it.”

Earned income is defined as wages, salaries, tips, other employee compensation and self-employment income from sole proprietorships and partnerships, according to state tax information.

Residents wouldn’t pay school district income tax on any other types of incomes such as retirement, unemployment compensation, worker’s comp, lottery winnings, interest, dividends, capital gains, profit from rental activities, distributive shares of profit from S-corporations, received alimony, distributions from trusts and estates and all other types of income that aren’t earned income but are part Ohio adjusted gross income.




I have stated that I am not sure that the earned income based tax is the fairest way; however, you will never find a tax that everyone thinks is fair. I was simply pointing out the fact that moving, unless one plans to move far far away, is not going to get one out of paying school district tax.

And if I'm am not mistaken, I believe that only those who reside in Norwalk School district will be able to vote on this matter.


Registered voters living within the Norwalk School District boundaries will be eligable to vote on the 1.25 additional tax increase. The tax will be a 1.25% of the gross of paychecks. Clyde got an earned income tax passed by going to senior centers etc whose incomes would not be affected. Anyone not receiving a paycheck will not be taxed. Those voters need to think of their working neighbors and children entering the workforce. VOTE NO


1/2 percent tax to 1.25 percent? NO WAY!


watch milan snuck theirs through by putting it on the ballot by itself. Also the school board female member that names starts with J and ends with odi was the front person for the campaign that bought billboards and signs through her people for the school. They just represent the school employees

Norwalk Lifer

So a board member shouldn't try to pass a levy to improve their school?


improve the school is one thing. School board members are voted on by the PUBLIC not the school employees. They are to look for a balance not a one sided idea


Norwalk's school district tax is the lowest around...Western Reserve's has been 1.25% for years and Oberlin's is 2%! Face either need an income tax or you need to pass levies. I don't live in Norwalk school district, but I do live in a district that has a tax. I'm not sure that an earned income based tax is the fairest way, but then again you are not going to make everyone happy. Taxes are a necessary evil.


Taxes nay be a necessary evil, but they need to be fair and equitable. All we are asking is that Norwalk cut to the bone before asking for another handout to pay for personnel that are being compensated at a higher than average level. Our board is impotent and should step aside and let the state run the operation lean.


This shall not pass!

swiss family

I would ask everyone to read the article in the actual paper from a few days ago. In it they were discussing which option to go with, and one of the board members was adamant about which one he want to go for, and someone said to him.."what if the people say "NO""... his answer says it all.. he said "if they say no, they say no" which if you actually hear what hear WHAT HE IS SAYING, IT IS EVEN IF THE PEOPLE SAY no WE WILL CONTINUE TO PAY TO PUT IT ON THE BALLOT TIME AFTER TIME UNTIL WE HURT THEM ENOUGH TO OBEY US!!!!! I don't know about anyone else.. but I want the board to work with us, not demand more money and punish us if we say "NO"


This is why we have the current situation. That is teh only thought on the board's mind. Use intimidation and scare tactics until they get the weak to vote their way. No original thoughts or plans. Tax until here is nothing left to tax. They would be happy if 100% of our earnings went to taxes. The very definition of communism, which we all know does not work in the long run.


@uncommoncents- so your telling us that people who smoke cigs, drink beer, and has a tattoo arent going to pay their share? Is there going to be an exception for these awful citizens?


Check your county property tax and look at the portion of your real estate taxes going to the school district already. Then add the earned income tax to that total. Levies run for years. You probably are already paying on a couple and the earned income will be an ADDITIONAL TAX.