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.



swiss family

I have to agree with Mr. Linder and Mr. Lendrum when they say that we "need to do something different" I am sad though that when they say that, they are talking about figuring out another way to push this levy through, when in fact, the voting public keeps saying WE want you to do something different too.. we want you to make cuts!! we want you to eliminate positions, we want you to live within your means.. we want you to quit trying to polish a "dropping" and try to make it look like something presentable and acceptable when the public clearly said "NO"

I think it is time for every taxpayer to go to the Norwalk city school web site, and copy down all of the school staff names and positions... then go to and go to teacher salaries and look and see how much all of the local teaching staff, and administrative staff, and cafeteria workers and bus drivers and everyone makes and see why we are spending so much money???? we need to ask ourselves.. with the salary for a Superintendent, and a VICE Superintendent, and then all of the Principals and their staff and helpers... and realize that BEFORE we even get to any teachers pay we have already spent a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!

WE need to ask ourselves if we feel that the people who get and take care of our money , are acting in our best interest??? and if they are NOT , WHY would we ever give them another cent, until they learn that NO means NO, and if you can't afford it, don't keep asking us for it over and over again like a spoiled brat in the checkout line cries to their Mom..In my opinion

Now The Rest of...

I can't believe this but I agree with swiss, they expect us to more than double the income tax. They do have to seek other options, like more cuts and live within their present funding just like the taxpayers and private sector business does. Don't tell us its for the children or their future, its for the salaries and benefits that in most cases are higher than the taxpayers salaries that fund them. Its easy with this proposal, just vote NO.

swiss family

@ Now The Rest of..........welcome to the DARK SIDE Luke... I am your


if someone works in norwalk but lives in monroeville would they pay this tax also or just residents


For school district income taxes, they are only permitted to collect it from earned income of residents who live within the district boundaries.


They will sneak it in some way. Every school that gets a no vote keeps putting it up more then once a year till noone is paying attention and then it will pass. Happens all the time.


I think taxpaying VOTERS are on to the BOE tricks of sneaking levies in on ballots! All the MORE reason to PAY ATTENTION!
Voters need to BE INFORMED! Spread the word in your district!




IF you put lipstick on a pig?You still have a pig!Vote no!!!No to more tax!


Look at berlin Milan!


Don't do it, Norwalk! Get the word out NOW that the earned income tax is a HORRIBLE burden on the household budget. Think of your working kids futures as they graduate, live in Norwalk and are also victims of the earned income tax! If you don't have this tax auto deducted from your paychecks, you will owe the state the big lump sum amount and try not to pay it - be in risk of LOSING your home. You are being held HOSTAGE for what you have worked for all these years!
Take your household income - TOTAL GROSS, see what the 1.25% is, then see if you can afford to LOSE that amount of money each year! Clyde is victim to this tax and Gibsonburg just voted it down in May.
Check these pages out for more "VOTE NO" history and tax levy info at the following links:


So if I am understanding this - every person who resides in the City of Norwalk will have this ADDITIONAL tax deducted from their paycheck - including teens, those working 28 hours a week at minimum wage and seniors who are working a part-time job to stay afloat.

Residents who own property or properties (the landlords of these underpaid and poor) will not pay this additional tax. Neither will those with pensions or trusts or private incomes.

So we are only taxing the working man.


Everyone that resides in the Norwalk SCHOOL DISTRICT will be taxed an ADDITIONAL 1.25% of their GROSS INCOME with this TAX! Taxing the working man, woman, and teenager. Add it up for your household! Defeat that levy. VOTE NO!


tax tax tax....the solution for most of our problems today.


Okay, I am going to need some explanation here. How are property taxes fair? Not everyone pays property tax. A school is a community based asset that we all have a responsibility to pay for. An income tax that everyone pays seems like the most responsible form of tax and budget constraint we could institute. When the economy is up the tax collection is up and so is the budget. When the economy is down the tax collection is down and so is the budget.
Why should a person who has worked hard and saved their money to buy property be forced to pay a tax that the person who spends their money on beer, cigarettes, and tattoos does not? Many people do without to scrimp and save to buy the American Dream and you think they should be the ones to foot the bill? It doesn't make sense to me. Everyone should pay. In 1997 the supreme court declared that funding schools through property tax was unconstitutional. We have done nothing to fix that. We as citizens need to come up with a better solution because our children's future depends on it.


DeRolph v. State was a landmark case in Ohio constitutional law in which the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state's method for funding public education was unconstitutional. In the end, the decision was carried by the narrow, 4-3 majority that emerged after oral arguments. The March 24, 1997, ruling:

■ found the funding scheme for elementary and secondary education to be unconstitutional;
■ ordered an end to the "school foundation program" and the reliance on property taxes for school funding;
■ provided the state 12 months to solve the problem;
■ awarded attorney's fees to the plaintiffs; and
■ remanded the case to the trial judge.[15]



It might be fair to use earned income if property tax was taken out. They cannot have both, and should not need both. We are being double taxed for being responsible working people that own property.


It is not a tax that everyone pays. It is a tax on those with jobs. It is a tax on a teenager with his first job, a single mother who is working 28 hours a week at minimum wage, a senior citizen who is working part-time to supplement her social security. It is a tax on a young family trying to save to buy their first house. It is an increased income tax, in addition to the property tax of working families who own a home. It is not a tax on retired public employees or teachers or those with a private pension.

We already have both a property tax and an income tax. If someone has money for beer and cigarettes and tattoos they are paying a school income tax on that income. Maybe if we could have a governor that could restore the funding that he took for road projects around Columbus and big salaries for his appointed cronies, we would only need to double the existing taxes!


uncommoncents: evryone pays property taxes. Landlords pay the Property tax, which they get from their tenants! If you rent, you pay property taxes. This is nothing new, where have you been?


Renters need to think about that when they go to the polls! Their current rent is figured pre levy costs. A renter may THINK he/she can vote and it does not affect their pocket book. When the property tax increases from the passing of a property tax on the ballot, those increases will be figured in to an increase in rent.


The facts need to be taken to the public. Everyone needs to know exactly how much we are paying to keep the current staff, including benefits, as well as facility and extra curricular activity expense.

Once everyone sees that we are being asked to pay added taxes to pay for people that are individually earning on average more than the family median income for this area, pay far less than the national average for health insurance, and contribute very low percentages towards their retirement, I would bet that the majority of sensible people would vote this levy down.

The staff has not had to sacrifice anything of substance, but expects that you should pay while they play. They are earning more than an average full year private sector salary for only working 180 days a year, while you work an entire year and have to pay added taxes.

It is time that the citizens of Norwalk take a stand and votes no. Send a message that we will give no more money to a bloated system. We also need to make sure that when the next election comes for selecting new board members, we vote every single one out and elect new blood that can make the current 22 million dollar budget work. It can be done if you apply common sense.

swiss family

@ overburdened.....I agree whole heatedly with what you have said.. I just want to make absolutely clear one of the points that you made... the Norwalk teachers contract has them working 180 days.. now do the math... 365 days in a year divided by 2 equals 182.5... so the Norwalk teachers are working LESS than a HALF A YEAR !!!!!!! let that sink in for a minute...

chicken noodle

@swiss think first before you post any kind of facts....or do you work 365 days a year. A work year typically is 5 days a week not 7 or 260 days before hoildays and vacation.

swiss family

OK...chicken little..... lets do the math your way.... you are correct, with 5 work days in a week, times 52 weeks that gives us 260 possible work days per year...The Norwalk teachers are mandated to work 180 days.. correct??? 260, minus 180 equals 80 days off..means that the teachers get 80 days off so if we divide 80 days by 5 days in a week, the teachers get 16 weeks off correct??? 16 then divided by 4 weeks in a month equals 4.. so they get 4 months off..... now 12 months divided by 4 months that we have established that the teachers are off... id 3 meaning that teachers get a THIRD of the year people with "regular " jobs work 50 weeks with 2 weeks vacation.. so 50 times 5 days a week.. equals 259 days.... compared to 180 days for teachers... hhmmm somehow it still comes out that the teachers get 4 months off per year even going by your math.... yes then by all means.. lets give them MORE money....WRONG


So residents wouldn't have to pay any tax out of their retirement income? Well, isn't that convenient for the Board member who just happens to be a retired school teacher? Oh, and isn't that convenient for the Board president's husband, who will retire soon? Poor decision by this Board. Did they not pay attention when Berlin-Milan tried to do this?


Not to mention the employees and administration of the Norwalk School District (NSD) that receive their paychecks from NSD and will benefit from the earned income tax dollars but live out of the Norwalk district and won't have to pay this tax.


Let me try to understand this, if they go with the earned income tax what do they do with property tax? Are they going to lower it so that those working pay for the schools and don't come to us every few year with a levy? Surely they are not expecting both? If they are going to keep raising property taxes no way I want an earned income tax.


Re: "The 1.25-percent earned income tax,"

A GREAT argument for new area residents to NOT move into the city limits, and/or current residents to LEAVE.

A GOOD argument for those on a fixed income to vote for the levy.

Nothing quite like having the school board position neighbor vs. neighbor.

Prediction: The levy will crash, burn and die.


Where do you propose people move?? Almost all surrounding school districts have an income tax: Monroeville, WR, New London, Bellevue, South Central. I suppose you could move to Edison, but then your property taxes would district taxes are the norm in this area. Norwalk has had it easy with a .5%, Western's has been 1.25% since it started.


Re: "Where do you propose people move??"

So are you in favor of the increase and it's unfairness?

IMO, only those who will be directly affected should be permitted to vote on this measure.

Why should those on a fixed income or those with unearned income be permitted to decide taxation for others and escape it?


Prediction: Down in flames.