Delaware City Schools levy to help cover myriad daily expense

Paul Comstock
ThisWeek

The Delaware City School District is a busy one, district officials say.

For example, during the 2019-20 school year, the district transported about 2,340 students every day, putting about 2,800 miles a day on the odometers of school buses. And that was before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic led to the shutdown of in-person classes in March.

That kind of thing takes money, and for the past 10 years, an operating levy has covered a lot of the costs.

Delaware City Schools administrative offices, 74 W. William St.

Now that levy is up for renewal on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The cost to homeowners would not change with a renewal, according to district treasurer Melissa Swearingen.

Shari Baker, director of tax administration at the Delaware County Auditor's Office, has said the levy is collected at an effective rate of 11.73 mills and costs homeowners $359 annually per $100,000 of property valuation.

The 2010 levy was designed to raise $9.4 million annually, representing 27% of the district’s property-tax collections for operating expenses, the district said.

The 2010 issue replaced a 12.9-mill, five-year levy approved by voters in 2006. The renewal would be a substitute continuing, or permanent, levy.

The district's operating expenses include teachers, transportation, basic utilities and student safety, the district said.

More:Delaware City Schools voters will be asked to renew levy in November

More:Delaware City Schools building projects are on schedule

District communications director Jennifer Ruhe said the routine costs include some impressive numbers:

• 53 buses in the fleet require regular maintenance and repairs.

• 60 transportation staff, including dispatchers, mechanics and drivers, safely get students to and from school each day.

• District buildings have 361 classrooms, which include art and music rooms and small-group instruction rooms.

• 48 custodial and maintenance workers maintain and clean facilities daily.

• A total annual budget for utilities of $1.3 million includes water, sewer, electricity, natural gas, telephone and garbage collection.

• Hayes High School had 637 students participate in one or more sports during the 2019-20 school year.

• Dempsey Middle School had 548 students participate in one or more sports during the 2019-20 school year.

• More than 800 students participate in music programs in grades 6-12.

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Ruhe said school lunch programs are separate enterprise funds and are not supported by the school district’s operating funds.

"The money generated from lunch and breakfast sales supports the cost of food purchases and operations; therefore food service is generally not included in levy funds," she said.

"We are doing wonderful things within our school buildings and across the district," Superintendent Heidi Kegley said. "This funding ensures we don't lose any of those components."

Although Election Day is Nov. 3, oversees and military absentee voting began Sept. 18 and early in-person and mail-in absentee voting began Oct. 6, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office voting schedule.

Also after the voter registration deadline, the board of elections will begin 24 days of in-person "vote center" balloting at the elections board's offices.

Weekday hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 19-23 and will expand to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 26-30. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2.

The vote center also will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 and 31, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.

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