Delaware News

District adjusting as state limits funding, tax credits

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The elimination of two statewide programs will change the way Ohio school districts receive funding in the future.

The new state budget has eliminated two tax exemptions that allow homeowners to receive tax credits by meeting certain requirements.

The Homestead Exemption allows any senior or disabled homeowner who lives in their home to receive a tax credit for some local property taxes.

The Rollback Exemption allows any homeowner who lives in their home to receive a 2.5-percent tax credit from local property taxes for $25,000 of the market value of their home.

The elimination of these exemptions will apply only to bond issues and levies that are passed starting in November this year.

Property owners who currently receive these exemptions in the Delaware City School District still will receive tax credits, and will receive a credit from the bond issue passed by the district in May.

"Our taxpayers will not see an increase from the recent bond issue passed in May," district Treasurer Melissa Lee said. "If we had waited until November, they would have seen an increase."

In addition, any replacement levies that are on the ballot still will be included in the tax credit, Lee said.

"Basically, homeowners will still receive the same amount they have been getting, but if a levy with additional millage is passed, they will have to pay that themselves," she said.

The district will receive the same amount from the state, but the state will not reimburse homeowners for new levies or bond issues.

Lee said this will affect how districts structure their levies in the future. Districts will have to look at how much taxpayers will have to pay without the state government reimbursing them.

The district will not look to ask taxpayers for more money this year, and Lee said the district's forecast is shaping up positively.

"On the operational side of the budget, we will see an increase in state funding over the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years," she said.

That said, the district won't receive the amount it would have, based on the old state budget formula that didn't include the newly passed caps.

The district cannot receive more than a 6.5-percent increase from the previous year, despite growth.

In 2014, the district will receive a $746,000 increase. However, according to a simulation conducted by Lee that doesn't include the current caps, the district should receive $7.3 million.

"The state decided they couldn't give all the districts the amount of money that the formula was projecting, so they instituted these caps," she said.

Lee and Superintendent Paul Craft, along with representatives of the Olentangy Local School District, met with legislators to push for changes to the caps.

"It was too late in the process for there to be any significant changes," Lee said. "They said they would consider this for the future, but it won't be in the 2014 and 2015 fiscal year budget."

Lee will present a district budget forecast to the board in October for its approval.

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