Pickerington levy to fund the four Ts

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On Nov. 6, Pickerington Local School District voters will decide on Issue 8, a 5 mill replacement levy.

The levy would pay for "the four T’s – teachers, textbooks, technology and transportation," according to www.voteforpickkids.org, the levy campaign Web site.

A $59.9 million bond issue approved last November will build three new schools.  By law, bond money cannot be used for operating expenses.

The Fairfield County Auditor determined the replacement levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $68.55 additionally per year.

"This levy was projected to last three years at the time of passage," said board member Lisa Reade. "It has lasted five years. This 5 mill levy replaces the original 5 mill levy that was approved by voters in 1994. Although it was renewed by voters twice since then, the annual revenue from the original 5 mill levy has remained constant for 13 years. (Under Ohio law, a school district cannot collect more money than was approved.) The district has grown from 5,400 students when this was first passed to 10,200 plus students today."

If the levy passes, the district will keep the $2.8 million it currently received plus receive an additional $2.3 million based on the current tax base.

If the levy does not pass, "the current levy expires on December 31, 2007. This means the November 6 ballot is the last chance to make sure the district continues to receive the necessary funding to support existing educational programs. If Issue 8 fails, then the district will lose approximately $2.8 million per year – including $1.4 million during the last half of the 2007-08 school year," Reade said.

"Class sizes will be impacted, textbooks won’t be replaced as often, technology won’t be as updated as it should be, it may affect some bus stops, etc," Reade said.

Because the levy is a "replacement levy" it will not return to the ballot to be renewed.

Next year, a 7.9 mill levy will be on the ballot for renewal.

 President James Brink said the board, at their Oct. 8 meeting, would discuss a plan in case the levy fails.

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