Groveport Madison to place levy on November ballot

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The Groveport Madison Board of Education unanimously approved placing a three year, 8 mill emergency operating levy on the Nov. 4 ballot.

"This is to maintain what we’ve got. It’s not for some new, grandiose plan," said Groveport Madison Treasurer Anthony Swartz at the board’s Aug. 13 meeting.

Speaking before the board in support of the levy, resident Judy Lively said, "Our children deserve the best."

The proposed levy would generate $6.4 million a year and, if approved, would replace the existing three year, 5.46 mill emergency renewal levy, which was first passed in 1997 and would expire Dec. 31, 2009. The proposed new levy would generate $1.9 million more per year than the existing levy.

If passed, the new 8 mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $245 a year in property taxes, which is a $78 increase over the existing levy.

According to Swartz, the existing levy was designed to generate $4.5 million annually for the district and originally assessed homeowners 9.5 mills, but that has decreased over the years as 5.46 mills now generate the same amount of money because, as values drop, the millage changes to generate the same amount of revenue.

Swartz provided the following projections regarding the district’s finances:

•If the voters approve the 8 mill levy, the district’s finances would remain on the positive side of the accounting ledger for the next three years before facing an operating loss.

•If the district just maintained its existing levy, or if voters reject the 8 mill levy, the district would be in the hole by $890,840 by fiscal year 2010.

Additional revenue from the proposed 8 mill levy would help the district deal with the increasing costs of operations as well as help offset the approximately $768,000 the district has to pay back to the state as a result of the state’s miscalculations of Groveport Madison’s share of state school funding.

Superintendent Scott McKenzie and Swartz originally recommended the proposed 8 mill levy be for five years, but the board decided a three year levy would be more practical.

"A three year levy is a much better sell (to the voters). There’s also a degree of accountability," said board member Nathan Slonaker.

On Aug. 13 the board approved a resolution of necessity for the levy and will forward it to the county auditor. After the auditor verifies the numbers, the board then must vote to make a filing by Aug. 21 to place the levy on the ballot.

Other Groveport Madison news

•Athletic Director Mike George said the district will receive a minimum of $21,000 plus a percentage of the marketing revenue as a result of the Groveport Madison Cruiser football team playing in Crew Stadium on Aug. 22.

"That’s as much revenue as three of our regular home games bring in," said George.

•George stated that, for the first time in school history, the high school will offer a junior varsity girls soccer program this year.

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