Voters in the Delaware City School District approved a 5-year, 8.35-mills levy at the polls Tuesday.
The district sought the levy after projections estimated the district would be facing an $18 million deficit by the 2020-2021 academic year. Superintendent Paul Craft reported this summer that despite enrollment growing by 850 students since 2010, the district has received no further funding from the state because the district’s funding is capped.
Craft announced Tuesday evening at a gathering of district officials and staff members that the levy would pass with around 60 percent of the vote in favor of the measure.
“It’s great to be part of a community that supports schools,” Craft said. “We’ve got a tradition that we are building in Delaware and that has been continued tonight. We are going to see a pass rate tonight that I never would have guessed. … We are going to have passed a large new money operating levy, 60-40.”
The announcement was met with cheers and applause.
The Delaware County Board of Elections reports there were 5,255 votes for the levy and 3,369 against.
“It took a village, it took a team, it took a levy committee that worked really hard to make sure that we got our word out … to make sure people understood what this was about and it was about the future for our kids and wow! I mean, they came out, our community,” Craft said. “I couldn’t be more proud, I couldn’t be happier.”
Craft reported the levy will generate about $6.2 million annually and collections would begin in 2018.
In addition to thanking the community, Craft thanked the teachers at Delaware City Schools for their work.
“Our teachers are what it’s all about,” Craft said. “There’s not a levy message, a levy campaign good enough to make up for having quality teachers in the classroom, and fortunately we started with that as a base. The teachers in this district, they are the ones who make this possible each and every day.”
Craft said the levy’s passage was a sign that the community “trusts what’s going on in the classroom” and said the district will continue to build on that trust.
Craft added that the levy is just the next step and said it’s crucial that state legislators fix the funding problem.
“Our legislature has to step up and fund their formula,” Craft said. “Even with the passage of this levy, we know we’re tight. We are going to continue to be good stewards of our taxpayer money. We are going to continue to do what we can to deliver a quality education for our students at a cost that is sustainable to our taxpayers. They sent a message today that we’ve been doing that and they trust us to continue doing that and that’s what we owe them.”
Funds from the levy will be used to support day-to-day operations such as teachers, transportation, basic utilities, and student safety, according to the district. The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $288 annually or $24 per month.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, for fiscal year 2017, DCS currently spends $9,995 per pupil, which is $1,524 below the state average of $11,519 per student. The average per pupil spending by fellow central Ohio districts is almost $12,000. District enrollment totals 5,800 students, but DCS only receives funding for about 3,900 students from the state.
Countywide, 43,106 ballots were cast out of 135,778 registered voters. Steve Cuckler from the board of elections described it as “on par with typical off-year elections.”
Contact Glenn Battishill at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.