Delaware News

Delaware City Schools

District eyes levy renewal on November ballot

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Pending final approval in June by the Delaware City School District Board of Education, district voters can expect to see a renewal levy on the ballot in November.

In 1989, voters passed a 3-mill permanent improvements levy with a reduction factor.

The levy has been renewed four times, with the latest renewal in 2009. The district is asking voters for a fifth 5-year renewal.

Although the levy is only being collected at a 1.9-mill rate, the district will not be asking voters to increase the rate back up to the original level of 3-mills from when it was first passed in 1989.

The annual cost per $100,000 home is $86.34, including the homestead and rollback reductions.

The levy generates approximately $2 million total, but as more homes are built and home valuations occur, the amount paid per household will continue to go down.

"The amount that each individual property owner pays will continue to decrease year after year, but we will collect the exact same amount of money," said Superintendent Paul Craft.

Craft said that although purchasing power has decreased, and the district is still collecting the same amount they were in 1989, they feel that the right thing for the district is to not ask taxpayers for additional money.

"We don't want to put a larger burden on our taxpayers if we can avoid it," Craft said.

"We are committed to watching every dollar we spend, and we don't want to ask for more at this time," he said.

The levy funds are specifically used for permanent improvements, and cannot be used for employee salaries or other operating expenses district officials said.

Permanent improvements include items that are sustainable for at least five years. The four categories of items that the levy encompasses are building maintenance, text books, educational equipment and computers, and school buses.

Craft said he doesn't expect any organized opposition to the levy renewal because the district is not asking for additional funds.

"We aren't trying to get more money," he said.

"In fact, some of our taxpayers will actually be paying less as time goes on," he said.

Craft said he is available to meet in the summer with any group that wants to discuss not only the renewal levy, but what the district is doing in general.

He said the state average of per pupil spending is $10,400. Four years ago, the district was spending $10,000 per pupil.

According to recent data, Craft said the district is only spending $9,100 per pupil now.

"We've reduced our district's per pupil spending by 10 percent," he said.

"I believe this shows significant evidence of our commitment to do everything we can to be good shepherds of our taxpayer's money."

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