Proposed tax levy in Stark Co. could bring on more school counselors after string of teen suicides

CANTON, Ohio - Superintendents in Stark County are working on a plan to offer more mental health counseling to students after a string of teen suicides in the last year.

This comes after multiple students committed suicide in Perry Township in Stark County and a Massillon 7th-grader shot and killed himself in a school bathroom the day he planned to carry out a mass shooting.

RELATED Perry Township community looks for a better way to help students after six teen suicides

Massillon Schools superintendent Rik Goodrich said he supports the plan.

“I know the county and surrounding area, it’s been tough. Nobody wants anything to happen to kids,” said Goodrich.

The plan is a tax levy that would be used to fund school resources, like hiring more counselors in schools. He said it would be beneficial for students to have more people to talk to and help them through their problems.

"Maybe we save just one person from doing something drastic,” Goodrich said.

RELATED Parents in Stark County talk about string of suicides: 'We have to do something'

Money from the levy would also pay for additional school resource officers to help keep schools safe.

“If we have the additional money we can do more and add some things we currently don’t have,” Goodrich said.

The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $52 a year.

But not everyone is on board. Canton school board president John Rinaldi is one of several school officials who opposes the levy. He said a permanent levy would be a burden for taxpayers.

“When you look at a permanent thing that doesn’t go away and it just compounds as each year moves on and as additional needs pop up, say a bond issue just to keep our schools operating, it just places a burden on our residents,” Rinaldi said.

The proposed levy is a county-wide tax that Canton residents would still have to pay for if the rest of county votes in favor.

Rinaldi also said Canton schools are already doing plenty to offer students mental health services.

RELATED CDC sending team to investigate suicides in Stark County

“We have counselors in the building and we also have psychologists that work with our kids day in and day out. We have staff that’s trained to identify some of the needs and some of the triggers that happen.
They bring those kids forward to us to where they can get the help they need outside of the school day. We have folks trained to recognize those things,” Rinaldi said.

The levy will be on the August ballot.

Print this article Back to Top