Voters reject Kings school tax 2nd time, OK Mason schools tax hike

Voters in southern Warren County decided Tuesday on two local school tax issues. Residents in Mason Schools voted on a new operating tax levy and those in the adjacent Kings School system decided on a tax bond issue for new school construction. In Butler County’s only school tax issue, voters in Edgewood Schools decided on a rare substitution tax issue, which if approved would lower their school tax bills. (File Photo/Journal-News)
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Voters in southern Warren County decided Tuesday on two local school tax issues. Residents in Mason Schools voted on a new operating tax levy and those in the adjacent Kings School system decided on a tax bond issue for new school construction. In Butler County’s only school tax issue, voters in Edgewood Schools decided on a rare substitution tax issue, which if approved would lower their school tax bills. (File Photo/Journal-News)

Voters in two of three local school districts in southern Warren County and Butler County approved tax issues Tuesday.

Mason Schools - Warren County’s largest school district – saw voters there approve a $20 million operating tax – the first new operating levy in 15 years - by a 69 to 31 percent margin, according to unofficial vote tallies from the county’s board of elections.

But for the second consecutive election, voters in the adjacent Warren County district of Kings Schools saw voters reject a $89.9 million bond tax for new school construction and renovations.

Explore COMPLETE ELECTION RESULTS

The Kings tax hike lost at the ballot by a 51 to 49 percent margin, according to unofficial vote totals.

Kings Superintendent Tim Ackermann said the apparent second ballot loss in five months means overcrowded conditions will continue to be a focus of the district.

And in Butler County, voters in the Edgewood School system took advantage of a rare, substitution tax levy – which if approved lowers the overall school tax rate for residents – by approving a new school tax by a 56 to 44 percent.

Mason Schools’ voters last approved a new operating levy in 2005 – and voters rejected the district’s last attempt to hike operating taxes in 2010.

The large margin of victory for Mason left school officials appreciative.

“We are extremely humbled by the voting results, and the commitment that our community has shown to Mason City Schools children,” said Superintendent Jonathan Cooper.

The two-stage levy will mean the Mason owner of a $100,000 home will see a $165 annual increase in school taxes beginning in January 2021.

Kings officials saw a second consecutive defeat of an $89.9 million bond issue to pay for a new junior high school, renovate other classroom spaces after a contentious campaign that included accusations of alleged improper campaigning.

Explore MORE: Pro, con Kings tax campaign sides prepare for coming vote

“We will continue to monitor the results until they are finalized and certified on May 8,” said Ackermann. “Regardless of the final outcome, we will work hard to find solutions for the growth and overcrowded buildings we have in the district.”

Officials in the largely rural Edgewood Schools said the win at the polls was an endorsement of the district’s fiscal performance and praised voters for their support.

The substitute tax levy’s approval means owners of a $100,000 home will see an annual school tax savings of $6.08 per year beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

Explore MORE: Edgewood residents to decide on substitute levy

“Your action will allow us to continue providing a great learning experience to all our kids,” said Edgewood Superintendent Russ Fussnecker.

“Edgewood has done an outstanding job of ensuring we are mindful of our taxpayer dollars and we will continue to do so,” said Fussnecker.