The Delaware City Schools Board of Education took a first step toward placing an emergency levy on the ballot this November at its regular board meeting, Monday night.
At the meeting, the board approved a resolution of necessity to levy a tax for the emergency requirements of the school district.
Delaware City Schools Treasurer Melissa Lee said she has been working with the County Auditor’s Office to determine the millage of the levy and said the auditor’s office needed to know how much money the district would be seeking before it can determine the millage of the levy.
Lee said Delaware will be asking for $6.2 million for each year the levy is in effect. The resolution states the levy would be collected for five years.
Lee said the district is expecting to hear back from the auditor later this week at the earliest.
Delaware City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft said last month that the levy is necessary because the district will be facing an $18 million deficit in three years. Craft said that the deficit is due in part to the state’s funding formula.
Craft explained that the state’s formula applies a cap to how much a district’s funding can grow based on how much funding was received from the year before. Craft said the district has grown by more than 240 students in the last two years, but has gotten no additional money from the state to accommodate the growth.
“If we had received full funding the last six years and the next three years and all other factors remained the same, we would instead be looking at around a $30,000,000 surplus in 2020-21,” Craft said on May 26.
Craft said without the levy the district would have to make cuts that would result in $1,000 less being spent on each student which would mean fewer programs and bigger class sizes. Lee reported in May that the district spent $9,733 per pupil in fiscal year, 2016, well below the state average of $11,164.
If the levy is formally approved by the board this summer it will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Additionally, the board approved a number of staffing changes, including:
• The resignation of Danielle Hogan, a fifth-grade teacher at Schultz Elementary School and Sarah Klare, a second-grade teacher at Schultz.
• The hiring of Joshua Bracken, who will work as a kindergarten teacher at Schultz; Jessica Brechbuhler, who will work as an art teacher for the district and Sarah Stine, an intervention specialist at Smith Elementary School.
• Purchases of tables and chairs for student in the amounts of $29,582.64 and $7,720, respectively.
The next board meeting will be held on June 19 at 6 p.m. in the Board Room at Willis Education Center located at 74 West William Street.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.