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District to remain off ballot until 2024

By Dr. John Marschhausen, Superintendent

In November of 2018, Dublin City Schools taxpayers approved a combined operating, bond, and permanent improvement levy. The funds from that issue paid for the construction of Hopewell Elementary, Depp Elementary and Eversole Run Middle School and continue to pay for the day to day operations of the District and upgrades to our buildings.  We are truly grateful to have a community that understands our enrollment and has chosen to support our District over the course of many years.

Dublin City Schools has averaged at least 300 new students per year every year since 1977. This is an extraordinarily long time to be in a period of sustained enrollment growth.

Jerome Village was anticipated to produce about 150 new homes per year, but is now producing more than 400 new homes per year, leading to overcrowded conditions at Jerome High School. Some classes are currently taking place in locker bays as the school deals with this overcrowding situation. To help alleviate this, 12 additional portable classrooms will be added to Jerome for the beginning of next school year with a permanent addition scheduled to open in 2023.

A District build-out study conducted two years ago indicated this long-running trend will continue until approximately 2036. While enrollment growth presents a unique set of challenges, it is largely a positive force because it means people want to live in the Dublin City Schools District.

Throughout this period of sustained growth, we have managed to put together the two longest stretches between levy requests in the history of the District. We do not intend to be back on the ballot until 2024. At that point, that will mark only the second time in a 12-year span we will have returned to our community to seek support. While we do not yet know what exactly that will entail, it likely will include additional school(s) to accommodate our growing enrollment.

You may ask yourself, why does the District have to return to voters at all? The answer lies within House Bill 920. Passed in the 1970s, House Bill 920 prevents our voted taxes from growing with inflation. You may hear terms in school finance such as “effective rate” vs. “voted rate” and that is referring to H.B. 920. The effective rate means the rate at which millage is collected. In other words, as soon as a levy is passed, it can only ever generate a set amount of money. As more people move into the District and pay into the till so to speak, everyone’s taxes go down slightly over time.

Another piece of good news when it comes to taxes is we will soon have millage rolling off our books, allowing us to build more schools with a “no new millage bond issue.” In effect, we will be paying off the mortgages of some of our schools that will allow us the financial flexibility to build additional schools without raising taxes. The staff required to teach in the new schools will require additional funding, but under the no new millage concept, the facilities themselves would not.

We will continue these community conversations around enrollment growth and the most efficient manner to deal with increasing numbers of students. Thank you and thank you for your support of Dublin City Schools.