Win-Win

Every inch of today’s Westerville school district has been a part of the district since its formation. If you chose to live here because this is where you want to send your children to school, nobody should move you out of the district without your consent. And nobody should demand “protection money” from you.

Following is our view of the “Win-Win” agreement between the Columbus schools and several suburban school districts, including Westerville:


Nearly thirty years ago, the Columbus school district raised the possibility that it might try to take over portions of many suburban school districts. Its basis for doing so was that the neighborhoods are located within the City of Columbus.

The threat was believable because state law allows Columbus to petition the Ohio Board of Education to do a takeover on that basis. As a result, several suburban school districts agreed to make millions of dollars in annual payments to keep Columbus from carrying out the threat. That agreement is commonly known as “Win-Win.”

All but one of the suburban districts have continued to make payments for more than twenty-five years to keep Columbus at bay. Westerville’s annual payment is now about $700,000.

Every six years, the agreement must be renewed. If Columbus chooses not to renew, it still has the option of attempting to take over the portions of our school district located in the City of Columbus. This means that every sixth year, many of our neighborhoods and a huge percentage of our tax base are at risk of being moved into the Columbus school district.

This situation raises several questions:

1. Why should the Columbus school district have the right to move you out of the Westerville district without your consent?
2. Why should the Columbus school district be able to use its size and influence with the state Board of Education to take away the businesses that support Westerville’s schools with their taxes?
3. If you buy a home in the Westerville school district, why should any of your property tax money be sent to the Columbus district rather than stay in Westerville?
4. Why does the Columbus school district feel it should intimidate other districts into paying for protection?
5. As the City of Columbus expands northward through Polaris, could problems with water service which only Columbus has the capacity to solve put some of our Delaware County neighborhoods under the same threat?

To date, the Westerville Board of Education has ignored these issues. Both Jim Burgess and Luke Davis are residents of the Win-Win area, and are personally affected. All three of us believe that our north and south end neighborhoods and businesses deserve permanent protection under state law.

As a result, we have begun talks with the state legislature to change the way transfers of territory can be done. We want to end the threat of the Columbus district imposing itself on our residents and businesses. We are asking for legislation which will:

  • Eliminate any school district’s ability to take over another’s territory through action of the state Board of Education alone;
  • Prohibit neighborhood transfers from one district to another unless residents of those neighborhoods vote their approval;
  • Prohibit any transfer unless the Board of Education losing the territory agrees to it.
We want this new legislation to provide permanent protection for our neighborhoods and our tax base in the Win-Win territory. We will try to prevent the same situation from occurring in the Delaware County portion of our district.

We will work to provide permanent legislative protection for every home and every business in the Westerville school district. We will devote the $700,000 in annual savings to much better uses.







Comments

Win-Win — 1 Comment

  1. Finally someone who is willing to step up to the plate to explain and take a position on the “Win-Win” Extortion racket of Columbus.

    Going for State Legislation to protect our District is a great idea now. It is unfortunate that the previous School Boards did not do this before building Central High School in the current location as opposed to building it within the area that that Columbus was threatening to take. This would have had the practical effect of telling Columbus that they get the bill for the school buildings if they take the territory.

    Please keep us informed as you assume your positions on the Westerville Board of Education. We are counting on your oversight in this important matter and you have our complete support.

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