(Canton, Ohio) – Early voting is now underway for the Stark County Educational Service Center’s school safety and mental health levy.
The levy will appear on most area ballots during the Special Election on August 7th. The levy asks voters in districts who opted to be a part of the proposal to approve a 1.49-mill continuous issue. The money would be used to cover the cost of participating school districts to upgrade school safety and security. The money would also be set aside to provide additional mental health services and resources.
If approved by voters, the levy would raise roughly $9.5 million annually – or $225 per student enrolled per year. 16 schools served by Stark ESC opted in as well as some nearby counties. In Stark County: Alliance, Fairless, Jackson, Lake, Louisville, Marlington, Massillon, Minerva, North Canton, Northwest, Osnaburg, Plain, Sandy Valley and Tuslaw. Also participating are Brown in Carroll County; and Strasburg-Franklin in Tuscarawas County. Voters in districts not participating will not see the levy on the ballot.
Officials note Stark ESC would not receive any of the money. The move comes following a staggering number of teen suicides last school year as well as an increase in security threats to schools. The owner of a $100,000 home would see an increase of $52.15 on their annual property taxes.