An earned income tax levy like the one being considered by the Frontier Local Board of Education is seen by some as a way to ease the tax burden on people who are retired, unemployed or disabled.
But to 54-year-old Newport resident Marion Bell Cody, it's just not right.
"That's outrageous," she said of the proposed tax, which would only apply to money made by individuals with jobs or who are self-employed. "I mean, how unfair is that? Just some of us get taxed."
Frontier's proposed five-year, 0.75 percent levy would be the first earned income tax levy for a school district in the county, but it isn't the first time the concept has been discussed.
Frontier officials estimate the levy would raise approximately $435,000. Unlike a property tax levy, the millage would not be adjusted downward after it met that amount, meaning it could collect more.
"Like most school districts, we need some new monies coming in ... to replace the money we're losing through state budget cuts, so we thought we'd try something different," Frontier board member Kent Hall said.
To learn more
On the Web: tax.ohio.gov
Special Frontier Local Board of Education meeting: 5 p.m. Aug. 4, Frontier High School.
Each of Ohio's 614 school districts receives funding from property taxes. One hundred and eighty school districts have income tax levies but only 30 of those are earned income tax levies, which have been allowed in the state since 2006.
Like state income tax, a school income levy does not apply to Social Security, welfare, workers' compensation and disability benefits. The earned income tax leaves out additional types of income, including pensions, interest, capital gains and more.
"We know in our area we have a lot of fixed-income, older people, ones that are struggling in the current economy," Hall said.
New Matamoras resident Pete Chapman, 69, said he wouldn't have to pay the tax because he's retired but he's mindful of the effect it would have on others.
"To me it'd be easy, but somebody that's working, they probably wouldn't want it," he said. "It makes it hard on somebody that's trying to work and trying to raise a family."
The board of education will meet in a special session at 5 p.m. Aug. 4, at Frontier High School to vote on the final levy language.
Residents in the Athens City school district approved a four-year, 1 percent earned income tax levy in 2006 and decided to continue it last year, with more than 55 percent voting for it.
"It's, I think, a good blend with property tax so that you're not so heavily reliant on property tax," said Athens Superintendent Carl Martin.
He noted that property tax is assessed regardless of a person's job status.
"Things happen in people's lives all the time. If they become disabled or unemployed, (they) don't have to pay it," Martin said.
Officials at other area school districts have discussed earned income tax levies but never moved forward with one.
Marietta City Schools Treasurer Matt Reed said the topic came up as the district was considering options for the operational levy approved by voters earlier this year.
"We just didn't think at this time that was the way to go," he said.
Still, Reed said it could be advantageous to have a levy that exempts people on fixed incomes.
"I think the only negative thing might be the connotation people get when they hear 'income tax,'" he said.
Warren Local Superintendent Tom Gibbs said an income tax could have been part of the school district's recent bond issue options but using property tax usually results in a more favorable bond rating and lower interest rates.
"We didn't feel like it was a good match for what we were trying to do," he said.
It could be an option if the district ever needed additional operating funds or as a possible replacement for its current emergency levy, Gibbs said.
"It'll certainly be part of the discussion," he said.