Axner going door-to-door to drum up support for tax issue
Dublin City School District Superintendent David Axner (left) has been knocking on doors to talk to residents about Issue 48. This week Dublin resident Janet Bosche got to ask him questions about the combined bond and levy issue on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Some Dublin residents have had the chance to talk personally with Superintendent David Axner about the Dublin City School tax issue on the Nov. 6 ballot on their own doorstep.
Axner has been knocking on doors in his spare time to stump for Issue 48, the combined 6.4-mill operating levy and $15.87-million bond issue on the November ballot that would help fund district operations through 2016.
"I've had great conversations and had some tough questions," he said.
"I have no regrets and I'm trying to get to as many houses and neighborhoods as I can in the next few weeks before the elections."
Even though Axner will leave the district at the end of the school year, he's more than happy to give a few extra hours to talk to residents about Issue 48.
"I've never done this before," he said.
"One of the things we heard with the last issue was that we had not demonstrated the urgency. There is a definite urgency in regards to what we're looking at if we're not able to pass this," he said.
"This is totally outside my work day here and it's been a great opportunity to connect with the community," Axner said.
"There's so many people who don't have kids in the school and don't have a chance to talk to me or any staff."
Janet Bosche spoke with Axner this week when he knocked on her door. The St. Brigid of Kildare teacher had two children attend Dublin high schools and two attend Bishop Watterson.
"I was surprised," she said of seeing Axner on her doorstep.
"I was not expecting that and he was letting me ask questions," Bosche said. "He was definitely not using scare tactics. He was very straight forward."
The visit allowed Bosche a chance to ask questions about the levy and how the failure of Issue 48 would impact schools like St. Brigid.
"It won't just affect public schools," she said, noting that busing would be eliminated for high school students living in Dublin who attend Catholic schools.
The homes Axner has been visiting this fall have given him a chance to correct some misconceptions people have about the school district and the way it is funded.
Several people have questioned why the district is seeking additional funding on the Nov. 6 ballot when it has money to install roundabouts and bike paths in Dublin.
"A whole lot of people believe our funds and the city funds are one pot," Axner said. "They come from two separate pots."
People have also questioned why the district needs additional property tax funding when income tax is taken out of their paychecks.
"Zero percent (of the city's income tax) comes to us," Axner said.
Dublin receives income taxes deducted from paychecks while the school district is funded mostly by property taxes.
Growing enrollment is another subject Axner has been working to get out while knocking on doors.
Although the economy has slowed new home growth within Dublin, enrollment in the school district has continued to grow.
"We have increased by almost 2,000 students since 2007 and we get less state dollars," Axner said.
"We've gotten as many students as either Jerome or Scioto (high schools) have, but we're getting less money from the state, so levies have to be passed to support that."
The win-win area of the district has also come into question while talking to voters, Axner said.
Most people don't know the Columbus residents in the Dublin City School district pay the same property taxes to support the schools that Dublin residents do, Axner said.
"They pay the exact same school tax as everyone else," he said.
If approved by voters, Issue 48 will cost an additional $213 per $100,000 assessed home value each year.