DELPHOS — Delphos Schools Superintendent Doug Westrick calls the district’s financial situation “bleak” as it seeks a 0.5% traditional income tax that would raise $1 million.
“It’s been 15 years since we received new dollars from our community. It’s been quite a stretch,” Westrick said.
The school district’s funding request is one of two tax issues Delphos voters will be deciding, the other being a 0.25% renewal income tax levy.
The school district has held several meeting, including two large community meetings leading up to the vote on March 17.
“We believe that in getting our message out, when our voters go to the ballot box, they have all the information to make an informed decision,” said Westrick.
If one word could describe the financial situation, he said it would be “bleak.”
“Especially if EdChoice stays on. Even if EdChoice is removed, there’s a definite need for some additional revenue at the local level right now. We have a considerably low property tax, no income tax, so we don’t receive a lot of funds,” Westrick said.
If the levy fails, Westrick said residents can expect 13 to 17 staffers to lose their jobs and that anything not required by the state would be eliminated.
“When we do that, we understand that our class sizes increase dramatically. We understand that we’re reducing opportunities for students and more than likely those families are going to find those opportunities for their children elsewhere,” Westrick added.
As for extracurricular activities like band and sports, it will be up to the parents to provide the funds.
“We would have to raise our pay to play for the full amount. We would be looking at a significant increase in pay to play and I’m not sure there’s too many families that could afford it. When you talk about those extracurriculars, those were things that kids enjoy and families enjoy and those are the options we’re talking about the students will find elsewhere,” Westrick said.
As for the Delphos school district shutting down, Westrick said “that is a likelihood. If EdChoice stays on and we can’t pass the levy, it’s just going to be tough. We can’t cut our way through that. Those are tough decisions that our board of education would have to make.”
Even if the levy does pass it won’t be smooth sailing.
“We will likely have to take a loan out to get us through a couple of years to offset the deficit that we’re in. We would be looking at year four and five to hopefully bring back some of the programs that we’re currently losing and maybe at that point also, consider a few additional programs, but very strategically looking at the long term impact of those finances,” Westrick said.
As for other issues facing voters in Allen County:
•Elida school district voters will consider a 6.61 mill renew levy, emergency requirements, for five years.
•Bluffton B Greenhorn, weekday sales, beer, wine and mixed beverages and spirituous liquor.
•Bluffton B Greenhorn, Sunday sales, beer, wine and mixed beverages and spirituous liquor, 10 a.m. to midnight.
In Auglaize County:
•Aldi, Sunday sales of liquor, 10 a.m. to midnight. Wapakoneta precinct 3B.
•0.75 mill renewal levy for the St. Marys Community Library, current expenses for five years.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.