Groveport Madison Schools need to be more creative in finding revenue
I read with much interest the article, "Groveport Madison finances look grim" in the Oct. 28 Southeast Messenger and have to comment.
In that article, Groveport Madison Treasurer Tony Swartz stated the school district is facing declining property tax revenues, and that a 2011 reappraisal of property tax values in the district resulted in an 8 percent decrease in value. He also cited tax delinquencies.
I’m no rocket scientist, but it would seem to me that common sense would prevail under the circumstances, as it has been a full year since the reappraisal, and that Mr. Swartz and the Groveport Madison Board of Education has not, in a year, taken appropriate action to deal with this known shortfall.
That reappraisal devalued my primary residential property by $31,000, which reduced my tax obligation to the district.
I must wonder how could they not see this coming?
The long-term five year projection for the district is a deficit of $20.5 million, according to Mr. Swartz’s projection to the Ohio Department of Education.
Now then, it has been fairly well published in the media that wages and benefits are basically 85 percent of school district expenses, so we, as taxpayers, know where most of our money goes.
So I, being a prudent and conservative taxpayer, on a fixed income, knows what to do to make ends meet, yet Mr. Swartz seems at a loss as to how to deal with this issue, other than it seems that the board will consider the issue of a potential levy.
That might work in the short term. However, I believe there is a way to more effectively deal with the entire shortfall issue without placing yet another levy on the ballot.
I recommend that Mr. Swartz check out the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, of which there are numerous school superintendents and school treasurers in this organization. They are represented by the law firm Bricker & Eckler LLC, at 100 S. 3rd St., Columbus. Their phone number is (614) 228-6540.
This is the law firm that won four state supreme court decisions concerning the inequity of school funding.
Unfortunately, it would also seem that this law firm is at a complete loss as to how to get the state legislature to create another way to fund public schools and remove that responsibility from tax paying private property owners, like myself. And Mr. Swartz himself.
Likewise, the Groveport Madison Board of Education has a responsibility to be not only prudent, but creative. I think that should include looking at different avenues of fund raising, especially for extracurricular activities.
Dennis L. Anderson