DELAWARE, OH (WCMH) – Delaware City Schools is asking voters to pass an 8.35 mill, five-year emergency operating levy. Without it, the district said extracurricular activities could be eliminated, among other cuts.
If it’s passed, superintendent Paul Craft said it would bring in about $6 million dollars a year to the district. But if it doesn’t, the state auditor has already made recommendations on where to cut.
“His first recommendation was the elimination of all extracurriculars, which is just heartbreaking because I know what a difference those music, art, theater and athletic programs make,” said Craft.
He said without any new revenue, it’s also suggested to cut 42 teaching positions, as well as 16 educational support positions like counselors, librarians and administrators. Some bus routes could be eliminated and class sizes could increase.
The district said right now, many primary grade and kindergarten classes are at or above 25 students. Some high school classes are up to 35 students.
“One of the challenges is because we’ve been a growing district we’ve been capped by the state in terms of our funding. We receive funding for 3,900 students, even though we now have 5,800,” said Craft.
He said that puts their district near the bottom of the list of spending per pupil in Central Ohio. On average, the district’s student population grows by 100 kids each year, which is expected to continue for the next decade.
“We need the legislature to fully fund their formula,” said Craft. “It’s an injustice what they’re doing and that’s why we have to return to our local taxpayers.”
If the levy is voted in, Craft said the average homeowner would pay about $420/year. For a home valued at $100,00, it would cost about $288/year or $24/month.
It’s an investment parent and volunteer levy committee co-chair Todd Miller is willing to make.
“The cuts that need to be made should this levy not pass are devastating in my opinion, both as a parent and as a community member,” said Miller. “Delaware City Schools already has class sizes that are above average and I’d really not like to see class sizes increase at all.”
But, resident Connie Watson said she’ll be voting “no”.
“Schools keep getting more and more money every year and it doesn’t seem like they’re using it wisely,” said Watson. “I’m for sports. I’m for music and all the other stuff, but there seems to be so much wasted on people’s property taxes.”