The Delaware City School District has staved off cuts to programs and staffing thanks to voter support for an emergency levy.
With all precincts reporting early Nov. 8, the five-year, 8.35-mill levy passed by a vote of 5,255 to 3,369, or 61 percent to 39 percent, according to final, unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections.
Superintendent Paul Craft said he has “never seen this level of support for a new-money operating levy.”
“It’s so affirming for the work this team is doing,” he said of the district’s teachers and other staff members.
The district’s school board June 19 voted unanimously to put the emergency levy on the Nov. 7 ballot. The new levy will bring in $6.2 million annually for the district. Homeowners will pay an additional $288 annually per $100,000 in property value.
Ahead of the election, Craft said the levy request was directly related to the state’s caps on funding to districts in wealthy, growing areas. He said such caps cost the district about $7 million per year.
Craft said the district’s fight for relief from those caps will not end with the levy victory.
“We can’t continue without the state doing its job of funding its formula,” he said.
According to a performance audit released by the state auditor’s office in late May, the district would have faced an $18 million deficit by fiscal year 2021 without new revenue or cuts.
Potential cost-saving efforts suggested by the audit included axing programs, laying off three dozen employees and raising participation fees and ticket prices for athletics.
Voters’ approval for the emergency levy marks the second victory for the district at the ballot box in two years.
District residents in March 2016 overwhelmingly approved a substitute levy. That levy did not increase the rate at which residents are taxed, but it did indefinitely extend an 8.44-mill emergency levy.