Canal Winchester school board members unanimously approved a plan to reinstate some high school busing and maintain pay-to-participate fees at $140 if the emergency levy passes in May.

Canal Winchester school board members unanimously approved a plan to reinstate some high school busing and maintain pay-to-participate fees at $140 if the emergency levy passes in May.

District officials met during a special meeting March 23 to discuss the plan and the programs and services they could reinstate with levy passage.

Their preliminary plan also involves reinstating field trips, a partial textbook purchase for all grades and restoration of the 23 teaching positions cut March 16.

If passed, Issue 11, a 14.82-mill, two-year emergency levy, will provide $6,439,000 each year and cost a homeowner an additional $454 annually, or about $38 monthly, per every $100,000 of assessed real estate value. According to data from the Columbus Board of Realtors, the average home price in the district for 2008 was $165,955.

"This gives us some room to bring some essential services and programs back," said Superintendent Kimberley Miller-Smith.

The district has not received new operating taxes since 2001, but enrollment has grown 106 percent since that time.

"I'm amazed that the district's been able to stay afloat," Miller-Smith said.

If the levy fails, board members will act to raise the pay-to-participate fee to $535 for each extracurricular activity a student wishes to join, Miller-Smith said.

She said raising the fee to $535 would make the extracurricular programs and activities self-sufficient, as the district would no longer be able to afford the $325,000 necessary to run such services.

Board members agreed to change the superintendent's proposal of raising pay-to-participate fees to $150, from the current $140. Her original plan also had fewer bus stops for high school students.

Board member David Brobst said officials should allocate about $35,000 more to add more stops for high school busing and keep the current extracurricular fee of $140 to make the levy an easier sell to voters.

"I think if we're going to bring it back, we need to bring back high school busing," Brobst said. "The busing component is a need at the high school."

Also at the meeting, Brigid Krueger, a resident who volunteered to lead the pro-levy campaign, said she wrote a letter to Gov. Ted Strickland requesting his support in the campaign.

"Hopefully he can live up to his word," she said.

The governor pledged to help with the campaign during a visit to Indian Trail Elementary School in mid-February.

Krueger said she hopes to spread the campaign's message mostly by "word of mouth."

"It takes a village to raise these kids," she said. "This is going to have to pass."