South-Western schools superintendent Bill Wise told those attending the Jan. 25 school board meeting that it's difficult to tell how much money the school district will receive if a $250-million casino is built at the Delphi site in the Westland area.

South-Western schools superintendent Bill Wise told those attending the Jan. 25 school board meeting that it's difficult to tell how much money the school district will receive if a $250-million casino is built at the Delphi site in the Westland area.

Wise said if the Delphi site becomes a casino, it will be annexed into Columbus but would remain in the South-Western school district.

"We do believe (a casino) is mostly likely going to be additional dollars for the district, but to what extent isn't clear," Wise said.

He said the estimated $250-million Penn National will spend to build the casino won't necessarily be reflected entirely in property taxes. Things like desks, chairs and slot machines aren't factored into real estate taxes.

Wise said many factors are involved and he is not comfortable estimating how much additional tax revenue the school district could get.

"This will not be a windfall for the district, but it will likely mean some additional revenue," he said.

Steve Isaac, founder of a citizens' community advisory group, said the group would like to be involved "to help articulate" the district's 2010 collective bargaining process to the community without being a part of the actual negotiations.

The six-member group started meeting twice a month last August. Since then, Isaac said, the group has studied school district operations. Group members sent a letter suggested improvements to Wise and the school board Dec. 28.

The letter states group members studied the district's five-year financial forecast and found most district expenses stem from salaries and benefits.

"With the upcoming negotiations next year with the South-Western City Schools collective bargaining units, an opportunity exists to analyze this cost and perhaps achieve some overall savings," the letter says. "These areas are impacted directly by the negotiated agreements with each collective bargaining organization."

The letter of came with a 49-page document titled "A Better Bargain: Overhauling Teacher Collective Bargaining for the 21st Century" by Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Martin -R. West of the Brookings Institution.

Isaac read a section of the document to school board members.

The document states collective bargaining contracts essentially are counter-productive to running an excellent and efficient school district.

"Union leaders typically greet this diagnosis with reflexive refrain: 'What is good for the teachers is good for the students,'" the document states. "In fact, the results of the collective bargaining process are too often incompatible with providing a high-quality education for all students."

Wise said delving into labor negotiations was not part of the community advisory group's mission.

"We never expected them to enter into the conversation of negotiations, to be very candid," he said.

Following the meeting, Isaac said the group was established to represent and help the community.

"As things move forward, things change," he said.

Wise said he thinks a planned performance audit will give more insight on the topic of negotiations.

Wise said he is unsure when the results of the audit will be released. In December, he said he expected they would be released this month.