(ARCHIVED) Questions You May Hear
This section was archived July 9, 2012


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Questions You May Hear about Issue 10 the March 6, 2012 Levy Request
 



Q. Every time there is a levy on the ballot, the district comes out with a list of cuts and “threats” to try to get the issue passed. Why do you do this?
Q. Are district costs out of line with other school districts? How do residents know we’re getting the “bang for our buck”?
Q. What has the district done to manage its personnel expenses?
Q. How much of the district’s budget goes toward the salaries and benefits of staff members?
Q. Teachers received a salary increase in their last contract. How do Westerville’s teacher salaries now compare to those around the rest of the county?
Q. District officials have stated that teacher salaries and step increases are required by law. However, other sources say they are not. What is the answer?
Q. Does the district have too many administrators and how do their salaries compare to others in the area?
Q. Is the district’s management office staffing and structure efficient?
Q. Why aren’t past levies generating the same revenue as they have in the past?
Q. If the levy does not pass, what are the education impacts?
Q. What is the district requesting and what will it cost taxpayers?
Q. Didn’t the community just pass a levy in 2009, and did the district keep the financial promise it made at that time?
Q. So the economy and state reductions are the main reasons the district has to come back to voters for more money?
Q. How is this issue different than the November 2011 issue?
Q. Why did the district decide to go back on the ballot so soon after the failure of the November levy?
Q. Why can’t the district redirect money being spent on the repairs, renovations and improvements being made to its school buildings and other facilites, such as the installation of field turf?
Q. What percentage of the WCS operating budget is provided by the State?
Q. Why are district costs going up when enrollment is relatively steady?
Q. Can’t we just wait for a school funding solution from the state?
Q. Is the levy meant to expand the district’s academic programs and services?
Q. If this levy is passed, when would the property tax be applied?
Q. Is there any type of property tax relief available to senior citizens?
Q. What is a mill?
Q. Why do the Westerville City Schools educate the students of families living outside the City of Westerville, and do they pay the same school taxes?
Q. What is Win-Win?
Q. What is the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the Ohio Capital Conference doing with regards to the probability of athletics being cut in Westerville City Schools?





Q. Every time there is a levy on the ballot, the district comes out with a list of cuts and “threats” to try to get the issue passed. Why do you do this?
A. Budget cuts are not threats, but part of a requirement for the state. A school district must submit a five-year forecast to the State Department of Education twice each year. The forecast must be filed once by the end of October and the second time by the end of May. The district's Treasurer must be able to stand behind the assumptions used to project the revenue and expenditures in each line of the forecast. We are not allowed to include in the forecast any anticipated "new" revenue from future levies, simply because we don't know for certain if voters will approve that revenue. The district is obligated to prepare and submit to the state a plan that results in a balanced budget should voters not approve additional revenue. Reductions typically must be made in the areas of personnel costs, academic program costs and operational service costs. (Return to questions.)

Q. Are district costs out of line with other school districts? How do residents know we’re getting the “bang for our buck”?
A. Fiscal Year 2011 financial data indicate that the amount of money spent by the Westerville City School District (WCSD) to educate each of its students continues to compare favorably to its peer school systems in the county and around the state.

Westerville City Schools spent $10,890 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2011, which is an 8.16 percent increase from its FY10 per-pupil cost of $10,068. The district’s FY10 per-pupil costs had decreased from FY09 when the district spent $10,426 per pupil. Given these figures:
  • The district’s average annual cost-per-pupil increase from FY09 to FY11 is 2.23 percent, which ranks 10 out of 16 Franklin County districts and is below the county average annual increase of 2.63 percent for that two-year period.
  • The district’s four-year average annual cost-per-pupil increase from FY08 to FY11 equals 2.57 percent, which ranks eighth out of 16 Franklin County districts and is slightly above the county average annual increase of 2.24 percent for that four-year period.
Historically the Westerville City School District has been in line with other Franklin County school districts and among its peers across the state when examining per-pupil expenses. There can be wide fluctuations from district to district, but Westerville City Schools in most instances tends to be near or below the median, as well as the averages, when making such comparisons. FY11 data reinforce this point. For example, WCSD’s cost per pupil is slightly above the state average, slightly below its similar districts’ average, but significantly below the county average. The WCSD cost per pupil is:
  • $319 above state average,
  • $162 below the average of its most similar districts as identified by the Ohio Department of Education, and
  • $1,128 below the county average
Among its “Similar District” comparison group, WCSD’s cost per pupil:
  • Ranks exactly in the middle at 11th out of 21 districts,
  • Ranks fifth out of the 10 similar districts that earned an Excellent with Distinction rating on the 2011 state report card.
Among school districts in Franklin County, WCSD’s cost per pupil:
  • Ranks 11th out of 16 districts,
  • Ranks seventh out of the eight districts earning an Excellent with Distinction rating on the 2011 state report card.

WCSD had achieved excellent results while maintaining a per-pupil cost that compares favorably to other districts in the county and among its peers around the state.
(Return to questions.)

Q. What has the district done to manage its personnel expenses and other limited resources?
A. The district was one of the first in Ohio to switch to a high deductible healthcare plan to gain control of rising healthcare costs. When that switch occurred the district experienced a 3 percent decrease in healthcare premiums. Since then the district has also switched its medical insurance carrier and its dental insurance carrier in order to achieve lower premium rates. As a result, the district’s increase in healthcare costs has been lower than national averages. Finally, due to ongoing conversations with our insurance providers, we were able to reduce next year’s projected health insurance costs by nearly $1 million. Budget managers regularly look for ways to reduce anticipated costs for the district. These efforts most recently included maintaining FY11 expenditure levels where possible and implementing various Austerity Measures. Last year we documented approximately $8.9 million in Austerity Measures, which are defined as acts or practices that result in a cost savings, cost avoidance, operational efficiency, expanded opportunities, or student incentive, as measured by economic value or time. Aside from the significant budget cuts required due to the failure of the November 2011 levy, other tangible efforts to reduce district costs are included in the following chart.



The Board recently approved changes to the terms of employment for three employee groups, which results in a projected $375,000 savings to the general fund through FY13. The district administrative staff had been discussing additional contract concessions and offered to phase in payments for board-funded health insurance premiums. The amount to be paid will equal the amount identified in the Westerville Education Association contract, which presently is 20 percent of the premium for those with family plan coverage and 5 percent for those with single coverage. FY12 payments will be phased in from January 1, 2012, through August 1, 2012.

Full-time, non-union classified staff working under the district’s Administrative Approved Staff guidelines also will make payments for board-funded health insurance premiums. The amount will be equal to that which is identified in the Westerville Educational Support Staff Association contract and will take effect June 1, 2012. Concessions from administrators and administrative-approved staff are expected to save approximately $50,000 for the remainder of FY12 and $300,000 in FY13.

The district’s administrative staff does not belong to a bargaining group. They do not have a salary schedule like other employee groups and they do not receive annual step increases or cost of living adjustments to their base salary. As a result of more flexibility in managing administrative personnel costs, their salaries have been frozen two of the last three years as a means to help address the district’s budget shortfalls. They are the only employee group that has taken a true salary freeze. Additional streamlining initiatives have reduced the district’s administrative salary cost by $276,000 since the 2009-10 school year.

Members of the Westerville Educational Support Staff Association also have made concessions. WESSA voluntarily donated back to the Board $175 each that they were to receive as a one-time, lump-sum payment in January 2012. The give-back will result in a $25,000 savings to the general fund. WESSA also agreed to a two-year contract extension that includes wage freezes and a conditional increase to employee contributions to Health Savings Accounts. Though WCSD officials have been involved in months of ongoing dialogue with leadership of the district’s four bargaining units regarding finances and potential concessions, the Board formally requested a reopener for the current contracts with each union labor group in an effort to keep jobs and retain programs and services for students. (Return to questions.)

Q. How much of the district’s budget goes toward the salaries and benefits of staff members?
A. Education is a human resources intensive business. Westerville allocates approximately 81 percent of its budget for personnel expenses. In any school district, about 80 to 85 percent of the budget goes toward salaries and benefits for employees. A recent report from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) indicates that school districts across Ohio identified by the ODE as being most similar to Westerville spend an average of 84.36 percent of their budget on salaries and benefits, with the highest amount being 92.1 percent. (Return to questions.)

Q. Teachers received a salary increase in their last contract. How do Westerville’s teacher salaries now compare to those around the rest of the county?
A. Teacher compensation is based upon two factors: education and experience. When examining January 2011 salary comparison data for the 16 Franklin County school districts, Westerville ranks no higher than sixth and as low as thirteenth across all of the different education and experience levels reflected by the salary schedule. In fact, over the past 10 years, the district’s base salary for teachers has dropped from being fifth to being tenth out of 16 Franklin County school districts. (Return to questions.)

Q. District officials have stated that teacher salaries and step increases are required by law. However, other sources say they are not. What is the answer?
A. Section 3317.13 of the Ohio Revised Code sets the minimum teacher salary schedule and part C of that section establishes the structure that results in step increases. Districts must pay the minimum amount indicated by the salary schedule and must adhere to the formula for calculating step increases, the amount of which is impacted by the negotiated salary schedule. The following link is to Section 3317.13 of the Ohio Revised Code (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3317.13), while this link provides a document with further explanation about how Ohio's teacher salaries are structured. (Return to questions.)

Q. Does the district have too many administrators and how do their salaries compare to others in the area?
A. According to an ODE report from FY10 (the most recent version of this report available), the Westerville City School District has a pupil-to-administrator ratio of 233.2-to-1. Out of 609 school systems in Ohio for which this Pupil-to-Administrator ratio is calculated, only 31 districts had more students per administrator than WCSD. Of the Ohio districts that have more than 10,000 students, WCSD’s pupil-to-administrator ratio ranks 14th out of 18. The administrative staff does not belong to a bargaining group. They do not have a salary schedule like other employee groups, so they do not receive annual step increases or cost of living adjustments to their base salary. As a result, there is a bit more flexibility in managing these personnel costs. Administrative salaries have again been frozen as an additional measure to help address the district’s budget shortfalls. This is two of the past three years that administrative salaries have been frozen. Administrative employees also have offered to phase in payments for board-funded health insurance premiums. The amount to be paid will equal the amount identified in the Westerville Education Association contract, which presently is 20 percent of the premium for those with family plan coverage and 5 percent for those with single coverage. FY12 payments will be phased in from January 1, 2012, through August 1, 2012. Two years ago district officials streamlined and reorganized the administrative team to provide more support for schools and teachers. District officials also decided to leave some newly-vacant administrative positions unfilled. This restructuring resulted in a cost savings. Last year, due to a few key retirements and resignations, the administrative structure was streamlined even further. This year we’ve chosen to keep two administrative positions vacant. As a result of these streamlining initiatives, the district’s administrative salary cost has decreased by $276,000 since the 2009-10 school year. Per the same ODE report referenced earlier, Westerville’s average administrative salary ranks 13th out of 16 districts in Franklin County and is $7,166 less than the county average. WCSD’s average administrative salary ranks fifth out of the five districts in Franklin County with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students. Westerville’s average administrative salary ranks 13 out of 21 similar districts as determined by ODE and is $2,797 less than the average for this group. Westerville’s average administrative salary is $1,704 less than the average of similar districts with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students. (Return to questions.)

Q. Is the district’s management office staffing and structure efficient?
A. There has been some discussion at the state level about consolidating smaller school districts as a way to save costs. An article from the Columbus Dispatch last fall held up Westerville City Schools as a model for such a concept, citing our district’s efficiencies when compared to operational costs and staffing levels in several smaller Ohio school districts that, if combined, would be comparable in enrollment to WCSD. The Dispatch said that WCSD has at least 47 fewer central-office employees than the eight comparison districts if they were to be combined. WCSD also spends $2.4 million less on salaries, health care and retirement benefits than the hypothetical combined district. The Dispatch study noted that this difference in operational costs is the equivalent of nearly 60 first-year teachers in Ohio. (Return to questions.)

Q. Why aren’t past levies generating the same revenue as they have in the past?
A. The dollars generated from previously-approved levies is still the same, but the amount of revenue received from those issues is essentially frozen because of an Ohio law passed in 1976 called House Bill 920 (HB920). When properties go up in value, the effective millage that homeowners and businesses pay is actually reduced. As a result, a school district never receives more revenue than it did previously, except for one-time revenue increases from any new construction that may occur. Every three years the county auditor determines the value of taxable property for each school district. If inflation has caused the value of the property to increase, the auditor cuts the school tax rate so schools do not receive more money. HB920 makes it difficult for school districts to meet inflationary/operational cost increases and is one of the primary reasons why they must return to voters on average every two to three years to request additional revenue. (Return to questions.)

Q. If the levy does not pass, what are the educational impacts?
A. It will be very difficult to maintain Westerville's excellent-rated schools. The reductions to programs, services and personnel approved by the Board in part consist of the elimination of all extracurricular and co-curricular activities, including athletics; the reduction of related arts programming, such as music and art specialists; and reducing the number of elective courses that high school students could schedule. The complete list of reductions and supporting documentation is available on the district web site at www.wcsoh.org. The approved reductions result in the elimination of 221.01 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions across the district. This includes the reduction of 112.95 FTE teaching positions, 99.5 FTE classified support staff positions, and 8.56 FTE administrative positions. District officials have attempted to balance the impact across all employee classifications. The district employs 1,001.35 FTE teachers/licensed staff, 739 FTE classified support staff and 74 FTE administrators. On a percentage basis, the proposed reductions reflect an 11.3 percent reduction to teaching staff, a 13.5 percent reduction to classified support staff, and an 11.6 percent reduction to administrative staff. Passage of the levy would allow district officials to restore some of the budget reductions scheduled for the second semester of the 2012-13 school year. Approval of the levy would begin to generate new revenue for the district in January of 2013; the second semester of the 2012-13 school year begins January 3, 2013. (Return to questions.)

Q. What is the district requesting and what will it cost taxpayers?
A. The Westerville City School District Board of Education has placed a five-year, 6.71 mill emergency operating levy on the March 6, 2012, ballot. If approved, Issue 10 will raise $16,540,000 million annually and would expire at the end of the 2017 calendar year unless renewed by voters. Issue 10, which does not contain an income tax component, would cost property owners an additional $205.49 per year per $100,000 of home value. Though some budget reductions would remain in place, approval of the levy would allow the district to restore some budget cuts for the second semester of the 2012-13 school year and operate with a balanced budget through June 30, 2015. The levy would begin to generate new revenue for the district in January of 2013; the second semester of the 2012-13 school year begins January 3, 2013. Decisions have not yet been made regarding which budget reductions would remain in place and which would be restored should voters approve the levy. (Return to questions.)

Q. Didn’t the community just pass a levy in 2009, and did the district keep the financial promise it made at that time?
A. Yes. At that time, the revenues generated by that operating levy were projected to fund operations through June 30, 2012 (FY12). Lower property reappraisals and an increasing number of tax delinquencies have reduced the district’s tax revenue. The elimination of tangible personal property tax reimbursements, reductions to kilowatt-hour tax revenues and reductions to state grants-in-aid also have reduced the district’s revenues. We are making the necessary budget adjustments to keep that campaign pledge of having a balanced budget through FY12 and, due to the failure of the November 2011 issue, are making budget cuts to balance a $23 million deficit in FY13. As anticipated, funds being generated by the 2009 levy and existing millage are no longer sufficient to support the current educational program. To avoid even deeper budget cuts and possible intervention by the State, the district has to ask voters for additional operating revenue. (Return to questions.)

Q. So the economy and state reductions are the main reasons the district has to come back to voters for more money?
A. Not entirely. School districts are required to operate with a balanced budget, but must do so while functioning under a deficit spending model due to the way Ohio’s school funding structure is set up. As a result, districts must return to voters about every two or three years for additional operating dollars. For any business, when revenue is no longer sufficient to support operations, one of three things must happen: 1) increase revenue, 2) reduce expenditures, or 3) increase revenues while decreasing expenditures. Due to the failure of the November 2011 issue, the district is making budget cuts to balance a $23 million deficit in FY13. Businesses have the ability to sell more products or charge higher prices in order to increase income. The only way a school district can significantly increase its revenue is by asking voters to approve an operating levy. If voters are reluctant to pass additional tax millage, districts must reduce their expenditures via budget cuts. This cycle is common to all Ohio districts and the situation in which Westerville finds itself. Westerville is not alone as depicted by this illustration of School districts facing financial difficulties as a result of Ohio’s inequitable, unconstitutional system of school funding. (Return to questions.)

Q. How is this issue different than the November 2011 issue?
A. The November 2011 issue was a permanent levy that generated revenue for the district through a combination of property tax and income tax. The March 6, 2012, levy request is a five-year, 6.9 mill emergency operating levy. If approved, the issue will raise $16,540,000 million annually and would automatically be removed from local tax rates at the end of the 2017 calendar year, unless renewed by voters. The issue, which does not contain an income tax component, would cost property owners an additional $211 per year per $100,000 of home value, which is less than what the average taxpayer would have paid if the November 2011 issue had passed. The new millage will not be applied to residents’ tax rates until January of 2013. (Return to questions.)

Q. Why did the district decide to go back on the ballot so soon after the failure of the November levy?
A. There was much uncertainty at the state level regarding how many elections would occur in 2012. As a result, there was the potential for school districts to have fewer opportunities to pass a levy next year, so the Board decided to place the issue before voters at the earliest opportunity this spring. Also, district Academic Affairs personnel are developing the academic program that will be available during the 2012-13 school year and students soon will begin scheduling their courses for the next school year. With an issue on the March ballot, the district can develop contingency plans to restore some of the budget reductions scheduled for the second semester of the 2012-13 school year in the event the levy passes. Approval of the levy would begin to generate new revenue for the district in January of 2013; the second semester of the 2012-13 school year begins January 3, 2013. The Board can’t assume the levy will pass and must proceed with budget reductions to balance the FY13 budget, as required by law. The latest financial data show that we continue to provide an Excellent with Distinction education at one of the lowest costs per pupil in the county. The critical work of deciding which budget reductions would be restored should voters approve the levy was completed and approved by the Board of Education on January 23, 2012. (Return to questions.)

Q. Why can’t the district redirect money being spent on the repairs, renovations and improvements being made to its school buildings and other facilites, such as the installation of field turf?
A. Capital Improvement dollars come from a completely separate fund than the district’s general operating budget. By law, those dollars cannot be used to offset operating costs. Reducing the scope of or eliminating any of these capital projects would do nothing to close the district’s projected general fund deficit. All of the projects being completed were specified in the district’s Master Facilities Plan and shared with the community. The funding for these projects was authorized by voters in May of 2009 by one of the highest approval rates in the district’s history. Approval of this issue did not result in an increase in millage because the rate that voters approved was the same Capital Improvement Levy rate that they had been paying in the past. (Return to questions.)

Q. What percentage of the WCS operating budget is provided by the State?
A. Total State Aid is equal to 18.7% of our General Fund budget. (Return to questions.)

Q. Why are district costs going up when enrollment is relatively steady?
A. While overall student enrollment growth has slowed, we still continue to add students and have experienced significant enrollment growth within certain student populations. There are costs associated with meeting the needs of specific student populations, and unfortunately, not much assistance is provided by the state to help offset these costs. Westerville also believes in reasonable class sizes, so it has an appropriate number of teachers to maintain sufficient pupil-teacher ratios. Westerville benefits from a highly-educated and highly-experienced staff, so the compensation offered to these employees must be competitive in the local marketplace. In WCSD, 74 percent of our teachers have Master’s degrees or higher, and 58 percent have 10 or more years of experience. (Return to questions.)

Q. Can’t we just wait for a school funding solution from the state?
A. No. It is unwise for a community to put its fate in the hands of a legislative decision surrounded by so much uncertainty. Westerville, because it is considered a “wealthy” district by state standards, isn’t likely to see much gain from any state-developed solution. In the past, any increases school districts may have seen in state funding were eaten away by new programmatic or operational mandates. Many school districts are facing financial challenges due to the state’s inequitable, unconstitutional system of school funding. While the district has made significant budget reductions to close its budget gap in FY13, these cuts are likely to be detrimental to the progress the district has made over the past five years. (Return to questions.)

Q. Is the levy meant to expand the district’s academic programs and services?
A. No. The Westerville City School District is at a critical point in the funding cycle where additional revenue is needed to meet future operating costs and attempt to maintain steady academic progress. For the past two years we have achieved the state’s highest academic rating at one of the lowest costs per pupil among our peer districts in the county and across the state. Significant budget cuts have put the quality of the district at risk. A continued lack of new revenue would put the district in danger of state intervention and potential loss of local control. (Return to questions.)

Q. If this levy is passed, when would the property tax be applied?
A. Any voter-approved tax increase is not collected until the following calendar year. Therefore, if the issue was approved any time in calendar year 2012, it would begin to be collected in January of 2013. There was much uncertainty at the state level regarding how many elections would occur in 2012. As a result, there was the potential for school districts to have fewer opportunities to pass a levy next year, so the Board decided to place the issue before voters at the earliest opportunity on March 6, 2012. Also, district Academic Affairs personnel have developed the academic program that will be available during the 2012-13 school year and students are determining their courses for the next school year. With an issue on the March ballot, the district can develop contingency plans to restore some of the budget reductions scheduled for the 2012-13 school year in the event the levy passes. Approval of the levy would begin to generate new revenue for the district in January of 2013. (Return to questions.)

Q. Is there any type of property tax relief available to senior citizens?
A. Yes. The homestead exemption allows residents who are age 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled, to reduce their property tax burden by shielding some of the market value of their home from taxation. Previously, most senior citizens and disabled Ohioans were excluded from the Homestead Exemption because of income tests. The new exemption, which takes the form of a credit on property tax bills, offers eligible homeowners, regardless of income, the opportunity to shield up to $25,000 of the market value of their homestead (a dwelling and up to one acre of land) from property taxation. For example, if a home is valued at $100,000, the property tax will generally be billed as if the home were valued at $75,000. The exact amount of savings will vary from location to location, but overall, qualified homeowners should save an average of about $400 per year. Seniors and disabled Ohioans who weren’t previously eligible must apply with their local county auditor in order to take advantage of the homestead exemption. Please contact the Franklin County Auditor at 614-462-3240 or the Delaware County Auditor at 740-833-2900 with any questions. (Return to questions.)

Q. What is a mill?
A. A “mill” is not short for the word “million.” Rather, a mill is defined as one-tenth of a percent, or one-tenth of a cent in cash terms. “Millage” is applied to the assessed valuation of real and personal tangible property to produce local revenue. For every $1,000 of a property’s assessed value, a mill would produce $1 dollar worth of tax revenue. Assessed valuation is 35% of the appraised value as determined by the County Auditor. (Return to questions.)

Q. Why do the Westerville City Schools educate the students of families living outside the City of Westerville, and do they pay the same school taxes?
A. Westerville City School District (WCSD) boundaries were established in the 1800’s, long before current governmental boundaries. In fact, the WCSD serves students living in eight taxing jurisdictions, including Westerville City, Minerva Park, Blendon Township, Columbus City, Genoa Township, Sharon Township, Plain Township, and Genoa/Westerville City. The school tax rate is the same for all residents in the WCSD. A common misconception among Westerville residents is the amount paid to the school district based on where the homeowner lives in the district. The school district portion is the same regardless of municipality. Though a homeowner’s total tax bill can be different between the eight taxing jurisdictions, the school district tax portion is the same throughout the entire district. (Return to questions.)

Q. What is Win-Win?
A. Win-Win was first developed in 1986 and originally involved the Canal Winchester, Dublin, Gahanna-Jefferson, Groveport Madison, Hamilton, Hilliard, New Albany-Plain, Reynoldsburg, South-Western and Westerville school districts. Worthington has its own agreement with Columbus and is the model that Win-Win is based upon. The Win-Win agreement has been renewed in six-year increments (1992, 1998, 2004, 2010). Only one district, Reynoldsburg, has not renewed its participation. An article in the May 12, 2004, issue of New Albany News states that Reynoldsburg did not renew in 1992 because “Reynoldsburg officials said that so little of their district was in Columbus it didn’t make sense to stay in the agreement.”

This rationale for leaving Win-Win does not work for Westerville City Schools because almost 25% of our tax base is within the City of Columbus. Opting out of the agreement would put that property and the revenue it generates at risk.

Some may believe that Win-Win creates an added cost to the Westerville City Schools, and that as a result of Win-Win, we have “more” students that we must educate. A common misperception is that Win-Win keeps some students in the Westerville City Schools instead of allowing them to “return” to Columbus City Schools. None of this is true now, nor has it ever been.

School district boundaries were in existence long before Win-Win came to be. The students that live in Win-Win areas were always Westerville City School District students. We were always responsible for their education; they did not “come to us” from Columbus City Schools. Nothing as a result of Win-Win has caused our expenses to grow, and nothing indicates that our expenses would decrease if we opted out of the agreement. This is primarily because Win-Win is not an “all or nothing” proposition if we were to opt out. In other words, we would be putting select parcels of our most valuable property at risk.

As district officials reviewed the 2010 Win-Win renewal with legal counsel, they learned that significant portions of the district have high valuation and generate significant revenue, but they do not generate students. If the district was not part of Win-Win, these are the areas that likely would be targeted for annexation into the Columbus City Schools because it would result in more revenue for that district without a significant increase to their enrollment. Westerville City Schools would still have the students from Win-Win areas to educate, but would lose revenue.

WCSD pays approximately $1 million to Columbus City Schools annually as part of the Win-Win agreement. At the time district officials decided to renew participation in the agreement, their decision was protecting approximately $590 million in property valuation from those portions of the City of Columbus within Westerville City School District boundaries. This property generates about $30 million in annual revenue for our school district. Property owners who reside in these areas pay the exact same school taxes to us as do the people who live in the City of Westerville, Minerva Park, Genoa Township, Blendon Township and the other political jurisdictions contained within WCSD district boundaries.

Opting out of Win-Win has a much greater potential to erode WCSD revenue than it does to reduce expenditures, which remains the key factor that district officials considered when deciding to renew participation in the agreement through 2016.

Additional information about Win-Win can be found here. (Return to questions.)

Q. What is the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the Ohio Capital Conference doing with regards to the probability of athletics being cut in Westerville City Schools?
A. Please review this summary of recent conversations between district officials and representatives of the OHSAA and OCC. (Return to questions.)



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