The Canal Winchester Times

Win-Win miscalculations

CCS to repay Groverport, Canal Winchester schools

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The Canal Winchester and Groveport Madison school districts will both receive significant paybacks from Columbus Public Schools because of billing errors associated with the Win-Win agreement.

The Canal Winchester Board of Education approved a resolution on Aug. 20 to accept a $961,755 billing and payment settlement from CCS. The Groveport Madison Board of Education is expected to act on a similar resolution for its $336,351 portion of the settlement at its September meeting.

Neither district will receive the entire amount owed in one payment; they will be paid in three equal installments in August 2012, May 2013 and May 2014.

Because of billing miscalculations by Columbus schools over the years, six suburban districts, including Canal Winchester and Groveport Madison, were charged too much under Win-Win while three other districts did not pay enough.

Other districts due reconciliation payments from CCS and the total amount owed include Hamilton, $1.6 million; Westerville, $933,687 and New Albany-Plain, $1.4 million.

The Dublin, Hilliard and South-Western City School districts all owe $96,170 to CCS.

The Win-Win pact allows students in parts of the city of Columbus to attend suburban Franklin County school districts.

Typically, when a city expands in Ohio, its city school district expands along with it, but that didn't always happen in Columbus from the 1950s through the 1970s. The Columbus district began threatening in the 1980s to retake those areas until the Win-Win deal ended the fight through a revenue-sharing arrangement.

That agreement was amended in 1992 and renewed in 1998, 2004 and 2010, according to Canal Winchester district Treasurer Joyce Boyer.

While there is no restriction how the money can be used, Groveport Madison Treasurer Anthony Swartz said his district will use the funds to help offset payment of more than $1 million it makes to CCS each year under the Win-Win agreement.

"It will be a small help in making future Win-Win payments to Columbus City Schools. It would amount to one-tenth of 1 percent of last year's budget," Swartz said.

Canal Winchester plans to place its payments from CCS into the general fund to help pay for operating expenses, Boyer indicated.

In order to prevent a similar dispute over the calculations of what districts owe CCS in the future, Boyer told the Canal Winchester school board that the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio will have an outside source perform an annual review of the payment figures. Districts will have a certain number of days in which to contest those figures, she said.

"That is part of the agreement to ensure that in the future, such mistakes do not happen in the billings and the payments," Boyer said.

Collin Binkley of The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.

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