Voters say no to school levy

When the Reynoldsburg City Schools Board of Education members approved a resolution to place a 6.9 mill operating levy on the Nov. 4 ballot early this summer, they were cautiously optimistic that the voters would approve their request despite the worsening state of the economy.

"I would go out and talk to organizations and community groups to get a sense of how they were feeling about the operating levy and they said while they knew it was needed, they were not sure if they could afford it," Superintendent Stephen Dackin said.

That assessment became a fact, as 58 percent of Reynoldsburg residents said "No" to the 6.9 mill operating levy on Nov. 4.
"I¹m disappointed," Dackin said.

If voters had passed Issue 80, as the 6.9 mill operating levy was known, it would have kept the district financially solvent throughout the fiscal years of 2011, with an outside chance of 2012.

Because the operating levy did not pass, the district is facing a $4 million to $6 million budget deficit in 2009 and a $7 million budget deficit in 2010. According to Dackin, the district has no other options but to make cuts with a deficit that large to maintain current operating systems.

"As a district, we¹ll have to sit down and make a list of things that need to be reorganized, and how to reduce the costs of our expenditures for the next school year," he said.

At the town meeting held Oct. 23, Dackin said the district has exhausted every avenue of costs with the money generated from the 1997 operating levy, but as the district plans to open a new elementary school and high school in 2010, it was time to ask for the passage of a new one.

"Since it did not pass, I guess we¹ll have to come back to the ballot in May with requests of more money," he said.
At a previous Board of Education meeting, members said they thought a 6.9 mill operating levy (which would generate $5.3 million annually for the district) was on the manageable end, but would have to make it higher if it did not pass in November.

The 6.9 mill operating levy would have cost property owners an additional $211 in taxes per year per $100,000 assessment to help maintain the district¹s current operating expenses.

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