DISCUSSING LEVY … Delta Superintendent Dr. Ted Haselman addresses those in attendance at a town hall meeting held to discuss upcoming school levy.
By: Rebecca Miller
Fifty to sixty gathered at the Middle School cafeteria of Pike Delta York School District, on Tuesday evening April 13, 2021, for a Town Hall meeting.
The topic of great interest that drew the crowd was the 1% Income Tax Levy that is on the ballot for May 4, 2021.
The PDY school board and administration are desperate to keep their school going and at the Town Hall they were able to express the dire financial need that exists.
Superintendent Ted Haselman, School Board President Mike Ford, and Board members Alice Simon, Tim Bower, Michael Mattin, and Tammy Sprow, along with the school CFO/Treasurer Matt Feasel were thrilled to see so many people show an interest and attend the Town Hall Meeting.
There was plenty of information shared by the aforesaid, and questions asked by those in attendance, all with a desire for understanding and clarity.
By the end of the evening, there was no doubt that if the residents of the school district do not pass this levy the school may even cease to exist within not very many years, or at least become a much smaller district.
Feasel explained clearly that as expenses rise for the district, the revenue to run the school has not kept up.
He used a chart which demonstrated the progression and showed that the school will need to cut more out of their staff, programs, and transportation than they already have during the past year in order to stay afloat.
In the Superintendent’s message to PDY families in the Spring 2021 issue of the school paper, Haselman said, “On May 4, 2021 you will have an opportunity to decide how you would like your school district to look. You will have the chance to decide if our students have opportunities and experiences or not.”
“On May 4 you will have the opportunity to vote on a 1.00% five-year school district traditional income tax levy for the Pike Delta York Local School District. This levy is estimated to generate approximately $1,775,000 per year for the five years.
These dollars will be used for the District’s general operating expenses such as bus fuel, classroom supplies, facilities maintenance, personnel costs, textbooks, technology, transportation and utilities.”
During the Town Hall, Haselman said passionately that they are being fiscally responsible and not wasting money, but “this is a large organization and it takes a lot of money to keep it going.”
Repairs to the buildings must be done, parking lots have to be resurfaced, books must be purchased and much more.
If the levy does not pass, the board already has a plan for what will have to be done in order to stay afloat, which includes the reduction of 17.5 staff, elimination of all extra curricular activities as well as all athletic and non athletic supplemental contracts, no gifted program or two year kindergarten program, HS FFA and field trips or alternative educational opportunities will also be done away with.
For transportation it will be limited to only transporting students in grades K-8 who reside more than 2.0 miles from school and for HS there will only be transportation to Four County.
He shared that these are not a threat but a reality of what they will have to do if it does not pass. A Yes Vote will “result in maintaining PDY” as the parents, students and families have come to know it, which includes continuing to “live within their means”, taking advantage of any grant opportunities, continuing all current student programs and current student transportation.”
“PDY students will continue to receive a quality education and have the opportunities and experiences they deserve.”
Board members explained to the assemblage that it was a very hard and long deliberated decisions to go with a district income tax, and to make it for 1%. The options were many and they felt, since it did not pass in November they needed to choose the one most likely to pass.
It was set as a temporary levy, for five years, so that the voters can choose again if need be in the future. This tax is separate from federal, state and municipal income taxes and must be approved by voters of a school district.
There was quite a bit of discussion about the money that should be coming to the school district from the large businesses.
It was explained that as the Village Council voted to give tax abatements to these businesses, the school is not getting the taxes they would if it was set up as it is in Fayette, Archbold and Wauseon, in which the school taxes are not abated.
The big companies would not have to pay village taxes, but they would still help keep the school open and running. One of the Board members clarified that “this is not about School versus Village at all. We just want to negotiate for money for the school.” Haselman added, “We just want to be ‘held harmless.’”
Income that is NOT taxed includes social security benefits, disability and survivor benefits, railroad retirement benefits, welfare benefits, child support, property received as a gift, bequest or inheritance, and workers comp benefits.
Income that IS taxed are wages, salaries, tips, interest, dividents, unemployment compensation, self employment to the extent included in OAGI, taxable scholarships and fellowships, pensions, annuities, IRA distributions, capital gains, state and local bond interest (except that paid by Ohio governments), federal bond interest exempt from federal tax but subject to state tax, alimony received, and all other sources.
Again, a “No vote means increased class sizes, less student support” and many other reductions. A Yes vote means “protecting the value of your personal investments like your property value, and leaving behind a legacy of community support for the next generation.”
At the end of the meeting, the leadership thanked everyone for coming and sharing their thoughts and feelings about the school.
One mother said in tears that her family would be one that would have to leave the district if the levy doesn’t pass and she cannot imagine having to do that.
Others spoke as generations of family members who have attended PDY and expressed their hopes that it will continue for many more generations
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.