What is the Win-Win Agreement?
The Territorial Annexation (Win-Win) Agreement is a comprehensive annexation agreement originally negotiated in 1986 between several suburban school districts and the Columbus City Schools. It was extended for four six-year terms (1992, 1998, 2004and 2010).
In May 2016 the South-Western City School District announced it would move forward to transition the 30-year-old Win-Win Agreement to better reflect current regional conditions. The Columbus Board of Education approved a five-year bilateral agreement with the South-Western City School District that allows for the phase-out of payments made to the Columbus City Schools under the original formula. The new agreement will secure and stabilize current South-Western City School District boundary lines, which in turn provides continued stability for families.
Starting with the 2016-2017 school year, the new agreement calls for a 20% reduction over each of the next five years with no payments being made after the fifth year:
May 2017 - 100%
May 2018 - 80%
May 2019 - 60%
May 2020 - 40%
May 2021 - 20%
No further payments due, unless agreed to by the Columbus City Schools and the South-Western City School District boards of education.
The Win-Win Agreement provided that Columbus City Schools would not request the transfer of territory located in the City of Columbus from the suburban school districts into the Columbus City School District, and each suburban district will make an annual payment to the Columbus City Schools based on one percent of the growth in commercial property valuation occurring in that territory. It also provides that, except for certain “protected” territory, all future annexations of land into the City of Columbus will result in that annexed land being transferred to the Columbus City Schools.
History of the Win-Win Agreement
Prior to 1955 - Property annexed by a municipality was automatically transferred to that municipality's school district. Therefore school districts and the cities they served shared common borders. When the city's borders changed the school district's borders were changed as well.
1955 - In 1955, the Ohio General Assembly eliminated the requirement that cities and school districts have common borders. The decision-making authority regarding transfers of school district territories after 1955 was granted to the newly created State Board of Education. As a result of this change it became common for school district boundaries to vary widely from municipal boundaries.
1950's-70's - The City of Columbus implemented a policy of using water and sewer agreements to aggressively annex unincorporated land into the city. These policies resulted in
tremendous population and economic growth that moved Columbus' boundaries into suburban school districts that had been established for generations. As the city grew into suburban districts the suburban districts continued to serve the families that lived in their district even though the property was now a part of the City of Columbus. However, because the property was now annexed into the City of Columbus, the Columbus City Schools could now petition the State Board of Education to move the properties in question into the Columbus School District.
1971 - The Ohio State Board of Education approved Columbus City Schools' request to annex valuable parcels that had previously been located in Grandview Heights, and various other school districts, into the Columbus City School District. In exchange, Columbus City Schools agreed to absorb the Mifflin School District. Suburban districts became increasingly concerned as Columbus Schools continued to gain valuable, undeveloped land into their school district.
Many suburban school district officials suggested that Columbus Schools were targeting commercial properties with a valuable tax base, and voiced concerns about the fiscal stability of suburban districts facing continued property and tax base losses to Columbus City Schools. Strong opposition to Columbus Schools' continued growth arose from suburban school districts who wanted to protect their investment in facilities and who wanted to serve families whose goal was to send their children to the school in the community with which they historically identified.
1980 - Collectively, the suburban school districts persuaded the Ohio General Assembly to place a two year moratorium on all big-city school district transfers. Concerned legislators asked school officials to work out a solution to the growing "turf war" over the changing school district boundaries. In 1982, when little progress was made toward arriving at an agreeable solution, the General Assembly extended the moratorium for another two years, but stated they would not renew it again in 1986. Once again, the districts were directed to develop permanent boundary and annexation agreements.
1986 - State Representative Michael Stinziano (Columbus) and other community and education leaders convened a series of negotiations with the Franklin County school district officials. Led by a nationally-renowned conflict resolution consultant, these officials eventually reached an agreement that would finally put an end to the unwariness and uncertainty pervading school district territorial disputes. Columbus City Schools and eleven adjacent districts negotiated the “Joint Agreement Among and Between the Boards of Education of Certain School Districts in Franklin County, Ohio”, nicknamed “Win-Win” after the negotiating
technique of give and take that lead to the agreement's adoption. The agreement established mechanisms to predict school district boundaries among the twelve member districts. It set procedures for Columbus to acquire new territory in the future, and established revenue sharing between Columbus City Schools and the suburban districts. The success of the agreement's adoption resulted in the Ohio General Assembly’s approval, and Governor Celeste’s signing of the agreement.
1986 - 2016 - Both Columbus City Schools and the suburban districts (including South-Western City Schools) have gained by identifying mutual growth corridors, economic development, shared revenue, and the ability to successfully plan for the long term. Today, when unincorporated land is annexed to a municipality, it is served by the school district or that municipality. The Win-Win Agreement was reauthorized by all twelve originating schools in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010; with the exception of Reynoldsburg City Schools, which opted out of the agreement in 1998. In 2016, the Columbus Board of Education approved a series of bilateral agreements with the boards of education of South-Western, Westerville, and Hilliard school districts. The Dublin and Groveport-Madison school districts each established new agreements with Columbus.
Primary Benefits of the Win-Win Agreement
• To provide stable territorial boundaries for long-range educational planning.
• To allow school districts to predict more accurately the numbers of students they service, in order to hire teachers and staff.
• To allow suburban school district students living within Columbus city limits to remain in the suburban schools.
• To provide stability to the real estate market.
• To secure tax money collected from businesses, industry, and residents on annexed land to benefit the suburban school district in which they are located.
Revenue Sharing in the Win-Win Agreement
One component of the Win-Win Agreement is the revenue sharing between suburban school districts and Columbus City Schools. The agreement specifies a formula to partially compensate Columbus Schools for revenue they would have gained had they annexed areas covered by the Win-Win Agreement into their district. The formula is intended to only cover growth in the value of new improvements to win-win areas since the agreement was implemented in May of 1986. Suburban districts reimburse Columbus Public Schools with payments of one percent of the non-inflationary growth in the value of real property, public utility, personal property, and tangible personal property that is located within Columbus city limits but served by the suburban school district.
In 1992, the formula was adjusted slightly to accommodate inconsistencies between the original agreement and state law. Additionally, minimum and maximum payment caps were added to the revenue sharing formula.
The maximum payment from any school district to Columbus in 2015 was capped at $1,150,434. This amount changed based on the Educational Service Center's calculations.
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