2010-04-17 / Editorials & Letters

SWL leads county in taxes for schools


Administrators are quick to tell you that the state just cut their budget or spending is mandated. Mandated by who – the teachers’ union?

A year ago, Southwest Licking Schools ran their Stand Up for Kids campaign, saying the levy would cost 10¢ a day. It made a temporary levy permanent and increased it 10¢ a day, making it a 24¢ a day permanent levy, producing $1.636 million. SWL then purchased 179 acres for $3.188 million. On July 27, 2007, 79 acres of that land were offered as a donation if the district would provide an abatement on the rest. SWL is paying taxes on all 179 vacant acres, when 79 acres is enough for two high schools, three football fields, stadiums and a swimming pool.

Licking County has 11 school districts and SWL has the fourth highest property taxes. Since the other three don’t have an income tax, SWL is the highest. In the campaign, taxpayers are misinformed by telling us it costs $8,690 to educate a student while similar districts collect $8,777. The SWL treasurer’s website shows $38,391,369 was collected in 2009 for 3,888 students which is $9,874 per student. A local private school with a higher academic rating charges $4,215, with a 15% discount for the second student. It is insulting that SWL is using the photo of a small girl as a sympathy tactic for a budget that is 2.5 times what superior schools receive. Now they want a 9.5 mill emergency operating levy. What is the emergency – need more administrators?
James Helfrich

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