Delaware City Schools officials say next week’s “substitute” tax levy will not increase taxes for property owners but will allow to district to capitalize on the growth in the school district.
School district voters will decide whether the fate of the levy during the primary election on March 15.
Superintendent Paul Craft said the substitute levy would replace a five-year emergency levy passed in 2011 that generates $6 million a year. Craft said the rate that the current levy is collected, around 8.3 mills, will not change going forward.
“This type of levy is tailor-made for districts like ours that continue to grow,” Craft said. “Only a few percent of school districts in Ohio are growing. Most are staying the same or declining in enrollment.”
Craft said the district has grown by 600 students since the 2011 levy was passed by voters.
Craft said the substitute levy allows for growth over the life of the levy based on property valuation — whereas a straight renewal levy would not allow the district to capture any growth in the district.
Craft and other school officials have emphasized that the levy will not increase taxes for property owners.
“The substitute keeps tax rates unchanged for current taxpayers, but allows for that rate to apply to new construction/valuation,” Craft said.
Craft said the substitute levy is similar to a $4.9 million substitute levy passed by Big Walnut Local Schools in November 2014 and would set $6 million as the floor for the levy.
District Treasurer Melissa Lee said that in its first year the new levy would be levied in an amount equal to the aggregate proceeds derived from the substituted levies — $6 million in this case. Lee said that in subsequent years the new levy would be levied at a rate equal to the dollar proceeds from the previous year, plus that same tax rate is applied to the value of any new construction during that year.
With the continued Homestead and rollback exemptions in place, a homeowner with a $100,000 home would continue to pay just under $260 annually, Lee said.
“These funds go directly to ongoing operations — teachers, support staff, educational materials, etc.,” Craft said. “As we continue to grow, it is clear that these funds are going to continue to be needed going forward.”
Craft said any cuts associated with a levy failure would come down to the elimination of positions.
The board voted to place the levy on the ballot at its Sept. 8, 2015, board meeting.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.