$439,000 Taken From Our Teachers & Schools: The Lorain County Land Bank
At first glance, it seems like a good idea: in order to help clean up our community, Lorain County government creates a “land bank” that will fund the demolition of vacant tax-delinquent homes in our communities.
Two of the three Lorain County Commissioners — Ted Kalo and Lori Kokoski — voted to create the county land bank yesterday. Commissioner Tom Williams voted against the plan.
“The land bank will be funded by taking a portion of fees and penalties paid on delinquent property taxes, money that now goes to school districts and municipalities,” wrote the Chronicle. “The commissioners estimate it will have a budget of about $600,000 per year.”
As I look at how much money will be taken from Lorain County’s schools in order to fund the land bank, however, I wonder if our school superintendents and staff were ever made aware of what it’s going to cost them.
Kalo and Kokoski approved a land bank plan that would take 5 percent of the fines and interest levied on homes that have delinquent taxes. That would take about $600,000 per year away from money that currently goes to school districts and other county government entities . . . with the VAST majority of the money being swiped from the school districts.
Here’s a breakdown of exactly how much money the Lorain County Commissioners are going to be taking away from each school district per year to fund their land bank project (based on 2011 figures):
Amherst EVSD: $30,839
Avon LSD: $59,092
Avon Lake CSD: $37,152
Black River LSD: $1,472
Clearview LSD: $8,364
Columbia LSD: $11,666
Elyria CSD: $55,825
Firelands LSD: $9,039
Keystone LSD: $21,664
Lorain CSD: $61,337
Mapleton LSD: $36
Midview LSD: $21,007
New London LSD: $513
N. Ridgeville CSD: $37,060
Oberlin CSD: $9,922
Olmsted Falls CSD: $2,096
Sheffield-Sheffield Lake: $22,699
Strongsville CSD: $391
Vermilion LSD: $17,371
Wellington EVSD: $8,062
Ashland Co-West Holmes: $3
EHOVE JVSD: $1,062
Lorain County JVSD: $21,932
Medina County JVSD: $130
Polaris JVSD: $121
TOTAL FUNDS TAKEN FROM SCHOOL DISTRICTS: $438,852
And remember: that’s just what will be taken from the school districts in a single year.
I won’t assume to speak for school superintendents and employees, but I’m curious to know how they feel about having nearly half a million dollars taken away from them in an environment that has seen all of their budgets stretched already.
Is the creation of the Lorain County Land Bank a good move for our residents and taxpayers? Maybe.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s this: whenever politicians say we need to hurry up and create a new government program as quickly as possible, it’s probably a good idea to take some extra time to examine the details.