By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education decided to ask the voters to renew the district’s existing operating levy.
On June 26, the board approved a resolution of necessity to place a request to renew the existing, 5-year, 6.68 mill operating levy with no tax increase on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Treasurer John Walsh said the next step is for the board to approve a resolution to proceed at its July 10 meeting to confirm placing the levy on the November ballot.
The current operating levy will expire on Dec. 31, 2019. According to Superintendent Garilee Ogden, if the levy is not renewed the district will see deficits of $2.8 million in 2020 and close to $6 million in 2021.
Ogden has said if the levy is not renewed the “consequences could be severe” with potential cuts and reductions. She said this summer district officials will discuss potential cuts to be made if the levy were to fail this fall. She said information about these potential cuts would be released in August or September.
“We have to plan how to handle that deficit in case the levy fails,” said Ogden. “We have to do an analysis of what can be cut without greatly impacting academic opportunities for our students.”
Ogden said the decision to go with a request to renew the existing levy arose after receiving feedback from the public.
“Our talks with the public indicated that they do not want a continuing levy or combined issues (such as combining a levy with a bond issue),” said Ogden. “We want to honor what our taxpayers are saying to us.”
The board’s decision to go with only a levy on the November ballot has put on hold plans to place a bond issue to fund new buildings before the voters.
Ogden said the district could still consider placing a bond issue on either the May 2020 or November 2020 ballot to obtain funding for potential new buildings.
Before pursuing a bond issue for new schools, Ogden said the district needs to establish an overall plan that includes the look of the buildings, where the building would be, the order the buildings would be built, and where students transition to attend schools while new buildings are constructed.
“We still need new buildings for our students,” said Ogden.