WILMINGTON — With a May 3 primary election approaching and an existing tax up for renewal, the Wilmington City Schools (WCS) treasurer gave a financial report at this week’s Board of Education meeting.
The WCS district seeks to renew its 1 percent income tax first passed 20 years ago. At the election last fall, the same proposed 5-year levy renewal was turned down by a 168-vote margin, with voter turnout in the school district just shy of 28 percent.
The WCS income tax provides 16 percent of the school district’s total operating revenue, said WCS Treasurer Kim DeWeese. The income tax generates approximately $5 million annually.
The net effect annually for WCS from Ohio’s New Fair Funding plan will be an increase of $491,477, said WCS officials.
Along with the local income tax, WCS receives funding from local real estate taxes.
In regard to real estate tax, the WCS millage is 27.3 compared to the average in Ohio of 50.03, according to the WCS website.
The Wilmington school district has not asked for an increase in property taxes in over 20 years, the website states.
“As a result of no new property taxes, WCS collects almost $2,300 less per student on property tax compared to the State average,” according to the website’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
If the income tax renewal fails to get voters’ approval, it’s projected that for fiscal year 2023 (FY23), WCS expenses would exceed revenue by $2.8 million, according to a PowerPoint slide presented by DeWeese.
The WCS website states the district spends $450 less on administrative costs per pupil compared to the average in Ohio.
“WCS is focusing on putting dollars toward classroom-level instruction, mental health, and operations,” adds the website.
The website emphasizes the proposed income tax renewal has the same rate as before.
The existing 1 percent school district income tax will expire at the end of 2022.
Early voting for the May primary election is scheduled to begin next Tuesday, April 5. The voter registration deadline is Monday, April 4.
To obtain more information or to ask questions regarding the district’s finances, you can contact the WCS treasurer’s office at 937-382-1641, ext. 7493.
At the school board session, the district treasurer announced the district was awarded a $12,710 Ohio Safety Grant for fiscal year 2022. The grant dollars will be used to install security cameras at Holmes Elementary School.
Last summer security cameras were installed at Denver Place Elementary, also through a safety grant.
The board approved a new certified position titled Early Childhood Coordinator. The Early Childhood Coordinator will work closely with the management of the preschool program and Step Up to Quality requirements, states the meeting agenda.
The Early Childhood Coordinator also will work closely with the building administrator and the district Pupil Services Director to coordinate services, professional development, coaching and support to staff, families and students in preschool and kindergarten.
The coordinator will be hired on the teachers salary schedule, with 10 extended work days.
The board meeting was held at the middle school, and student recognition was given to four Wilmington Middle School girls named as winners in a countywide Black History Month essay contest for youths (with essay length of 250 to 500 words). The four students are Makenna Dorsch, Autumn Byrd, Sara Weller and Morgan Mertz.
WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart said it is her understanding that writing an essay was not required for any classroom and so those who did participate were going above and beyond their regular school work.
“We really commend all those who participated, using your skill and your voice through your writing on a very important topic,” said the superintendent.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.