School levy profile: Shelby City Schools

Shelby City Schools serves 2,000 students in its five Richland County buildings.

Thanks to a move by Governor Kasich, the District has lost what it estimates to be $2 million per year in state reimbursements for the Tangible Personal Property tax – eliminated by lawmakers in 2005. The state originally committed to keep districts and local communities whole by providing replacement revenue generated by the new Commercial Activity Tax until 2017. But upon taking office, Kasich accelerated the phase-out, leaving districts without the revenue a full five years ahead of schedule.

Reeling from the cuts, the District has implemented spending reductions to bring the budget into balance, eliminating 34 teachers, nine instructional aides and nine administrative and support positions. That’s 52 jobs reduced in a district where full time employees numbered only 130 in the 2010-11 school year.

In order to avoid a deficit going forward, without the $2 million from the state, the district is proposing a mix of $600,000 in spending cuts and a new levy to raise an additional $1.4 million per year.

The proposal represents an increase of $229 per year on the tax bill for a $100,000 home.  Thanks to the homestead exemption, the increase would be $172 for an equally-situated senior citizen.

If the levy fails, the district has not indicated what additional cuts will be necessary to make up for the shortfall, but with the amount representing more than 10% of district finances, it will not be painless. If other districts around the state are any indication, expect students to pay more for extra curricular activities and sports, choose among fewer electives and advanced courses and see bus transportation curtailed.

Only time will tell.