Delta School Board Levy Discussion History and Information

Delta School Board Levy Discussions

Below are excerpts from four published articles regarding discussions of the Pike-Delta-York Board of Education concerning the financial health of the District and what evolved into the income tax levy on the ballot this Tuesday, May 4, 2021.  I reprint these only to provide some history and information of how the issue managed to arrive at this point.

Delta School Board Hears Final Financials for Fiscal 2018-2019

By:  Bill O’Connell on 7/31/19 in the Village Reporter

When the Delta Board of Education met for their July meeting, Matt Feasel, District Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, gave the final financial status report for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.  The numbers turned out to be somewhat on the downside and Mr. Feasel cited several reasons to explain them.

“We didn’t finish as well as I would have liked this year,” said Mr. Feasel.  “A number of things happened that were outside of our control.  Basically, once again, our revenue did not grow at all this year.  We collected $160,000 less in real estate taxes than we did a year ago.”  Mr. Feasel cited several other factors that led to an overall drop in revenue of about .05%. 

Expenses for the period were higher than expected including costs for substitute teachers that came in at just under $95,000 compared to approximately $33,000 last year.  Severance costs rose by $85,000, purchases increased by $350,000 and building maintenance and special needs expenses also saw significant increases.

The numbers presented did trigger a short discussion about placing an additional tax levy on the ballot this November, however, Mr. Feasel recommended holding off for this year.  The Board members present, Dr. Mattin, Mrs. Simon and Mrs. Sprow all agreed as did Superintendent Haselman.

Delta BOE Considering New Tax Levy, Cites Village Tax Abatements as Major Reason for Revenue Shortage

By:  Bill O’Connell on 11/13/19 in the Village Reporter

During the Pike-Delta-York Board of Education (BOE) meeting in November, CFO/Treasurer Matt Feasel laid out the District’s Five-Year forecast for 2020-2024 and related to the Board that there were some tough decisions to be made in the very near future.  Mr. Feasel shared a spreadsheet showing revenue and expenditures dating back to Fiscal Year 2016-2017, the most recent period where the District realized a surplus, or when income exceeded expenses.  Actual numbers for the following two years showed deficit spending that cash on-hand balances were able to absorb.

However, in each of the five years in the forecast, deficit spending is projected to increase significantly every year.  Cash balances are predicted to be exhausted sometime during Fiscal Year 2021-2022 and total debt of the District is expected to be $4,476,124 by the end of Fiscal Year 2023-2024. 

As explained by Mr. Feasel in a post-meeting interview, a major factor in the shortage of revenue for the school is the tax abatements the Village of Delta is giving to local companies and property owners.  He used the abatement given to Canadian company Nature Fresh Farms as one example.

Municipalities are allowed to give up to 100% tax abatements for a certain length of time to companies and property owners under the Ohio Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) program as a way to boost economic growth.  Generally, a negotiated “donation” of at least 50% of the tax being abated is given to the local school district so they are not negatively affected.

“With Nature Fresh, there was an original agreement among all the political subdivisions, the county, the township, the school, they would abate 100% of the taxes but required a 50% donation agreement for the schools,” explained Mr. Feasel.  Soon after, it was discovered that the CRA had to be with the property owner, Nature Fresh president Peter Quiring, and not the company itself which rendered the original agreement null and void.  The Village of Delta negotiated a new agreement maintaining the 100% tax abatement but excluding the 50% donation, which amounted to $3,200,000 over ten years, to Delta Schools.  According to Mr. Feasel, the Village did not inform the school of the change in the agreement.  “We got nothing,” he said.

Another example of tax abatement hurting the schools given by Mr. Feasel was the construction of new homes.  “Anybody that builds a new house here, all they have to do is once they get a bill is go up to the Village and fill out an application and the first ten years of their taxes are abated.  They don’t pay anything.  If they bring two kids into the District and our average cost per pupil to educate a child is $10,000, that costs us $20,000 and we don’t get a dime from them,” he said.  “Currently, we have six residential properties that have been granted abatements.”  Adding to the problem is that funding from the State of Ohio will not be increased in 2020.

What the BOE, Mr. Feasel and Dr. Ted Haselman, School Superintendent are looking for are opportunities to separately negotiate with local companies.  “All we’re asking for is to give us an opportunity to go to the table,” said Mr. Feasel.  “Let us negotiate with these companies.”

When asked how the Village has responded to the issue, Mr. Feasel said he and other school officials have met with Village officials on numerous occasions and the Village maintains they are trying to build a community and the abatements, in the long term, will be beneficial to the Village.  “(Dan) Miller, the current Mayor, we’ve met with him and Brad (Peebles, Village Administrator) and tried to explain what it does to us.  It’s fallen on deaf ears,” said Feasel.  “We never heard of any kind of proposal.  We’ve asked them to give us a proposal.  We’ll look at anything.  They never came back.”

What has been of some help is a new source of State funding called the Student Wellness and Success Fund or Fund 467 that has very few limits on where the money can be spent.  This fund was put in place by Governor Mike DeWine and is currently available for only two years.  As Dr. Haselman pointed out, however, is the funding will be applied only to existing programs instead of new ones given their current financial situation.  Another source of revenue could be taxes from the NEXUS Pipeline but that amount is currently unknown.

PDY Board of Education Considering a Levy for November Ballot

By:  Bill O’Connell on 6/24/20 in the Village Reporter

During the June meeting of the Pike-Delta-York Board of Education (BOE), the likelihood of a levy being placed on the November ballot was discussed.  Superintendent Ted Haselman and CFO/Treasurer Matt Feasel presented a number of levy scenarios for the November 2020 ballot the Board for their consideration.  After some discussion it was moved by BOE member Tim Bower and seconded by BOE member Alice Simon to request the following resolutions of necessity from the Fulton County Auditor and the Department of Taxation:

A One Percent (1%) Traditional Income Tax and a Two (2.00) Mill Levy.  A One/Half Percent (½%) Traditional Income Tax and a Five and Three Quarter (5.75) Mill Levy. A Nine Point Two-One (9.21) Mill Property Tax Levy.

PDY Schools Levy Supporters Rally in Delta

By:  Bill O’Connell on 4/12/21 in fultoncountymedia.com

Dozens of Delta residents and Pike-Delta-York Local Schools faculty, administrators and staff members gathered in a cold and windy pouring rain in the parking lot of the Barn Restaurant this past Saturday afternoon to show their support for the upcoming 1% income tax levy to benefit the PDY Local Schools District.  Officially, the vote will be taken on May 4, 2021, but early voting is now available at the Fulton County Board of Elections on Fulton Street in Wauseon.

This is the second attempt to pass the levy after going down to defeat 2309-1714 in November of 2020.  The PDY Board of Education has already approved a list of reductions if the levy fails again.  These include a reduction in force of 18 faculty and staff positions, program reductions including all extra-curricular activities and the high school Future Farmers of America (FFA) program and a reduction in transportation including the elimination of bussing to the high school.

One comment

  • Roger Merillat

    On Sat, May 1, 2021, 3:27 PM Fulton County Ohio Media wrote:

    > Bill O’Connell posted: ” Delta School Board Levy Discussions Below are > excerpts from four published articles regarding discussions of the > Pike-Delta-York Board of Education concerning the financial health of the > District and what evolved into the income tax levy on the ballot” >

    Like

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