Dublin Villager

School notes

Schools and cities different entities when it comes to funding

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Issue 48 on the Nov. 6 ballot is a Dublin City School District issue that is a 6.94-mill combined operating levy and bond issue. The combined issue would cost taxpayers $213 per $100,000 of property value, per year.

This is a good time to remind our residents about some of the basic facts regarding local governmental entities.

All Dublin City School District residents pay Dublin City Schools property taxes, regardless of where they live within the district.

The school district consists of 47-square miles and stretches into Delaware and Union counties, and the city of Columbus.

More than 40 percent of our students do not live in the city of Dublin, but their parents pay our school district property taxes.

The school district and the city of Dublin are entirely separate entities.

The district does not fund the construction of bike paths or roundabouts, nor does it fund the Dublin Community Recreation Center.

We are often asked what is the difference between a bond issue and an operating levy?

A bond issue funds school building construction, infrastructure improvements, maintenance, equipment, and technology.

By statute, a bond issue can only be used for these purposes as listed on the ballot language.

An operating levy funds the day-to-day operations of the district such as salaries, benefits, utilities, diesel fuel, and other day-to-day operating expenses.

The issues are combined because when roof, asphalt or other repairs/maintenance became necessary, those dollars would have to come from operating funds if there was no bond issue.

Conversely, if there was no operating issue, the district could not fund its day-to-day operations at current levels.

In the 1990s, voters approved a bond issue to fund the construction of Karrer Middle School, but the building sat empty for a school year because the accompanying operating dollars were not present.

Issue 48 would operate the district through Fiscal Year 2016.

As is the case in many service organizations, about 90 percent of the district's budget is staff. The operating portion of the combined issue accounts for 6.4-mills of the 6.94-mill total.

The $15.8-million bond issue is a reduction from the $25-million bond issue rejected by voters as part of the combined issue on the 2011 ballot.

In total, the 6.94-mill combined issue is more than 1-mill less than the November 2011 issue. A mill represents approximately $3-million of revenue collection in our district.

The bond issue would fund equipment, maintenance and technology at all schools.

It would also fund the commons expansion at Davis Middle School, traffic flow improvements at Riverside Elementary School, and fire alarm/HVAC upgrades at Deer Run Elementary School.

The economic reality is the district is not permitted to operate at a deficit at the end of a fiscal year.

If the issue does not pass, the Board of Education has already approved more than $10-million in reductions which would take place prior to the 2013-14 school year.

The district has already reduced more than $15-million since 2007, including more than $7.1-million this past spring over the next two years.

During its Sept. 10 meeting, Dublin City School District Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution approving $10-million in budget reductions prior to the 2013-14 school year if the issue fails.

Reductions include academic areas such as the consolidation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, reduced Advanced Placement (AP)/Core course offerings, reduced World Language offerings, and reduced music programs.

The resolution approved the reduction of 125-plus staff members (certified, classified, and administrative) if the reductions must take place.

Non-academic programs will also see substantial reductions if the issue fails.

Athletics and extracurricular activities would be reduced, high school busing (including private school high school routes) would be eliminated, and pay-to-participate fees would rise to $400 per activity.

Current high school pay to participate fees range from $40-$75 depending upon the activity. At the middle school level, activities are $30 per student.

Additional staffing reductions in the central office, custodial, transportation, technology, and guidance departments will also be made if Issue 48 fails.

Dublin City School District treasurer Stephen Osborne submitted the School Notes column to ThisWeek Dublin Villager.

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