Red may be chic, but when it comes to balancing the books, black is much preferable and is the reason why Canal Winchester Local Schools are returning to the ballot in hopes of passing an operating levy in November.
The Canal Winchester Board of Education discussed three options during its Aug 20 meeting and passed legislation asking voters for approval of a continuing 7.9 mill operating levy.
Generating $3.2 million a year, the extra millage would cost the owner of a $100,000 an additional $242 in taxes. According to Treasurer Joyce Boyer, the homeowner now pays on average $727 in general operating taxes to the school district.
Without supplemental revenue, the district could end the 2008-09 school year with a deficit of over $3 million, dive further into the red the following year, and conclude the 2010-11 with a potential $14 million shortfall. With the proposed levy, the district could stay solvent for another four years.
"The needs of the district are ongoing," said Boyer. "Even if there are changes by the state, we’ll still have needs and the growth continues. That is why the board decided to go with a continuing levy instead of a four-year emergency levy. If the levy passes, we wouldn’t begin collecting it until January of 2008 and even then it takes a while to start generating the additional funds. The levy would keep the district in the black, under the current projections, until 2010-11."
Last year, voters rejected a 4.9 mill operating levy and board members, including David Brobst and Stan Smith, stated they would need a much larger levy in order to generate a similar cash flow. Brobst said the board kept its word in returning to the voters with the 3 mill increase.
A growing student population, changes in utility deregulation and tangible personal property tax collections, along with the loss of the levy in 2006 were factors previously cited in pushing the district back to the ballot on Nov. 6.
"The way funding is in the State of Ohio," continued Boyer, "we are forced to go back to the public for additional funds. It is so hard when you’re growing and building."
Other CW school news
•The board approved a $49 million temporary appropriation measure for the 2007-08 school year. The total includes $30.9 million for the general fund, $7.7 million for debt services, $2.9 in capital projects, and $3.4 for internal service funds.
•A $9,000 contract with Carol Lukich was approved for communication liaison services for the district.
•An agreement with Sport Safe Testing Service was approved to conduct random drug and alcohol testing according to the criteria in the Student Athlete Participation Criteria Handbook. The agreement also includes use of an approved lab for confirmation testing of any contested positive results acquired in random testing. The contract is paid for with athletic department funds.