Commission approves levy for Guiding Hand

By Morgan McKinniss -

GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners signed a final resolution Thursday morning for the upcoming tax levy for the Guiding Hand School to be placed on the November ballot.

This is intended to provide an additional $1 million as a continuing levy. Guiding Hand, which has not been on the ballot since 2003, is carrying more of the cost now – costs that state funds used to absorb.

“We provide Medicaid services. For each dollar spent in Gallia to support people with developmental disabilities, 40 cents comes from tax dollars. In 2003, it was 28 cents,” said Pamela Combs, director of Guiding Hand School.

This increase in costs comes from legislation at the state level causing more funding for these kinds of institutions to come from the local level.

“It’s like a cost of living increase. Things are generally more expensive now,” stated Combs.

If the levy were to fail, Guiding Hand School would likely become a charter or private school, shifting the cost from local tax dollars to other sources, explained Combs.

“Students would likely have to get scholarships in order to attend. We can’t maintain the school without this levy,” she stated. She also explained that many of the students they serve would likely have to transition into public schools.

Guiding Hand serves over 300 individuals in Gallia County, from birth throughout their entire life, not just those in their school age years. According to Combs, Gallia is one of about 40 counties in Ohio that have a school to serve people with moderate to intense developmental disabilities.

“We are really fortunate to have this school,” said Combs.

Again, this levy will be on the November ballot where voters will have the final say. Combs explained that it will continue to fund Guiding Hand for the next 10 to 15 years.

“In order to maintain our services at Guiding Hand, we need this levy to pass,” explained Combs.

By Morgan McKinniss

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.