Westerville school board members have unanimously approved a negotiated agreement that replaces the 30-year-old "Win-Win" pact with Columbus City Schools.

Westerville school board members have unanimously approved a negotiated agreement that replaces the 30-year-old "Win-Win" pact with Columbus City Schools.

The new agreement, approved Monday, Aug. 22, stabilizes district boundaries and phases out annual payments to Columbus City Schools over the next five years.

"I am ecstatic about this outcome," said board President Richard Bird at the Aug. 22 meeting. "This is obviously a historic moment for our community -- it's just really cool -- I don't know how else to say it."

The Westerville City School District paid Columbus City Schools $511,000 a year under the old agreement, to protect nearly $30 million in yearly tax revenue, Treasurer Bart Griffith said.

Under the new agreement, a full payment will be made in the current school year, followed by a 20 percent reduction each consecutive year, so that no payment will be made in the fifth year.

Superintendent John Kellogg said that after the fifth year, "There will be no more payments, no more property changing hands and no more agreement.

"I want to make sure people know what it means to have our boundaries protected," he said.

He said the district's Win-Win payments protect a large area of Westerville City Schools in Blendon Township.

"Under the current (original Win-Win) agreement, if that area were annexed by the city of Columbus, such as for water and sewer, then students would leave Westerville schools and attend Columbus City Schools," he said. "In the new agreement, those properties would remain in Westerville City Schools."

The original Win-Win pact between 10 central Ohio school districts and Columbus City Schools stemmed from a political battle over which school districts had the legal right to teach children and collect taxes in fast-growing areas of Columbus -- Columbus City Schools or the suburban districts that were serving the unincorporated areas of the county that Columbus was annexing.

Under that accord, a property in the city of Columbus that was served by a suburban school district as of 1986 remained there as long as the pact was in place. In return, Columbus City Schools received 1 percent of the tax growth from those properties, capped at $1.15 million.

Win-Win was up for renewal this year, as it has been every six years since 1986.

A number of Westerville school district residents wrote to school board members in recent months and asked them to opt out of the agreement.

"The Win-Win agreement came about because of an archaic series of laws," Bird said. "I'm happy that this issue is finally resolved. This is a home rule issue."

Board member Nancy Nestor-Baker said, "I'm so happy to see this occur -- finally our boundaries are stabilized."

"This amended agreement was locally negotiated by local superintendents who paid attention to local needs," she said.

In other board business, the district's summer graduates dressed in the caps and gowns of their home high schools to be recognized by board members and given their diplomas.

The graduates included two students from Westerville Central High School, four from Westerville North High School and nine from Westerville South High School.

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