A delinquent tax windfall of $1-2 million dollars may be used to restore busing cuts for Westlake Schools.
The Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office has informed Westlake City Schools of delinquent property tax payments it collected. The funds will have significant short-term impact on district revenue. Westlake City Schools received notice of property taxes from Cuyahoga County on Feb. 14 that surpassed what the district treasurer and the county had projected.
The district immediately contacted the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office to investigate the variance and gather additional information. As a result, county representatives provided new information indicating the schools and the City of Westlake may experience a one-time spike in tax revenue due to delinquent property taxes collected by the county. While the Auditor’s office still needs to confirm this information, it appears the additional one-time revenue will be $1 million to $2 million larger than previous estimates.
“This is a very positive thing for the district for the short term. Considering our immediate reductions and this new information, I plan to discuss the possibility of restoring busing back to the one-mile mark for students at our Feb. 24 Board of Education meeting,” said Dr. Daniel J. Keenan, Jr., Superintendent of Westlake City Schools. Keenan noted that the timing of the pay-to-participate program will also be discussed.
The district expects to receive more detailed information from the county during the week of Feb. 23 to verify the exact amount and source of the delinquent property tax revenue.
“I will work with Mr. Pepera to further understand the impact of the unanticipated revenue so I can provide a revised reduction plan recommendation to the Board in April or May,” said Dr. Keenan. “Westlake City Schools still face serious long-term budget issues because of two failed levy attempts. While this one-time windfall is good news for the short term, without new levy money and with the $11 million dollar cut in state funding over the past seven years, we still have to change our processes and have some very difficult decisions to make.”