Since 2001, the Delaware Area Career Center has gotten by with renewal tax levies, forgoing increases.

Since 2001, the Delaware Area Career Center has gotten by with renewal tax levies, forgoing increases.

The center's leaders hope that fact earns a victory at the polls in the fall.

In 2001, Delaware County voters approved a five-year, 1.7-mill operating levy. The split levy earmarks 1.3 mills for the general fund and 0.4 mill for the permanent-improvement fund.

In 2005, voters renewed the same 1.7-mill levy for 10 years with a promise from the center that it would not come back to voters for at least a decade.

That levy is set to expire this year, and the center is asking voters for another decade Nov. 3.

The operating levy, if approved, will continue to cost homeowners $40.37 annually per $100,000 in property valuation.

The levy covers the costs of salaries and supplies, including computers, as well as permanent-improvement purchases that have a lifespan of five years or more, such as buses.

The career center currently receives $12.5 million per year in total tax revenue. The levy provides about $4.4 million of that, or 35 percent of its total funding.

Treasurer Chris Bell said the levy takes advantage of the state's homestead exemption -- which lowers property taxes for senior citizens and disabled residents -- and property-tax rollback, in which the state covers a portion of local taxes. Both programs were eliminated in 2013 and will disappear if the levy is not renewed, Bell said.

"This is why we need to new this levy," he said. "Taxpayers are receiving a 12.5 percent break due to this homestead and rollback.

"If we don't renew this, and we have to come back and ask voters to approve a new-millage levy, they will have to pay 100 percent of the tax bill."

Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman said she knows taxes are a concern for everyone. That's why the center has chosen not to ask for additional money and to make sure taxpayers will get their 12.5-percent discount.

"When you look at what you get for the cost, the community is getting a bargain," she said. "We have been fiscally prudent and we have kept our promise.

"Barring any drastic changes in state funding, we are making another promise to the taxpayers that we will not ask for additional money for 10 more years."

Freeman said the center asked the state auditor for a performance audit seven years ago to identify areas in which cuts could be made.

All staff members, including administrators, agreed to a base freeze in their 2011-14 contracts, she said.

Staffers also were asked to look at noninstructional costs and come up with reductions, she said.

Freeman's message to those on the fence about the ballot issue is that they should look at the value the center brings to the community.

She said the school's programs teach skills that apply to fields where jobs are plentiful, include welding, health care, information technology and public safety.

"We are preparing students for the workforce," Freeman said. "We are preparing them for in-demand jobs in the community. As graduates, they have the option to continue school or join the workforce, but they are leaving with credentials."

For the first time, the school received a report card from the state last year. Even though the school had no idea which elements it would be graded on, the school was one of only two Ohio technical schools to receive all A's, Freeman said.

"We are providing high-quality education at a low cost," she said.