With 11 levy scenarios on its tablet for consideration, the Groveport Madison Board of Education scratched out 10 of them on April 19 and picked one to place before voters on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

With 11 levy scenarios on its tablet for consideration, the Groveport Madison Board of Education scratched out 10 of them on April 19 and picked one to place before voters on Tuesday, Aug. 7.

That option, a substitute levy, would generate the same amount of money – approximately $7.7 million – that the current emergency levy brings in, if it is approved by voters.

The major difference is that the substitute levy will be permanent and as new homes or businesses are built in the school district, the new buildings will be taxed at the same rate, which would provide the district with additional revenue.

The school system's current emergency tax levy expires on Dec. 31.

In November, voters rejected a request to add $4.1 million onto the existing levy for a period of five years.

The current property tax is collected at 9.31 mills and costs $287 a year per $100,000 of property value. It has to be renewed every three years.

Officials have said the district will have to pay between $56,000 and $70,000 to run a special election in August.

The vote to ask for an August levy was 4-1, with board member Bryan Shoemaker voting no. He said he was concerned that the tax request wouldn't be enough to prevent the district from returning to voters again in the near future.

Concerned with the district's financial situation and ability to provide for the needs of its more than 5,700 students, school board President Charlotte Barker asked Deputy Superintendent Bruce Hoover how well it could educate its students.

"I think that while this shores us up temporarily, we definitely – if we're going to offer increased opportunities down the road – are going to need some additional money and also take care of our aging facilities," Hoover said.

"This option gives us the flexibility to come back to the voters at a time, maybe, when the economy has rebounded to some degree," he added.

According to a handout provided at the meeting, the school district's operating funds "have decreased by millions of dollars in the last several years as a result of cuts in state funding and decreases in property tax collections." At the same time, district expenses have continued to go up.

In February, the board of education announced the need to slash the budget by more than $8 million over the next two school years if an operating levy is not passed by the end of the year.

Reductions approved at that meeting included 24 teaching and staff positions for the 2012-2013 school year and 109 jobs in the 2013-2014 school year; foreign language classes, library services, gym, art and special education classes; textbooks, technology and classroom materials.

Also slated to be eliminated, if a levy is not passed before the end of the year, are student busing for all high school students, effective Jan. 1, 2013, and all athletics and extracurricular programs in 2013-2014.

"We saw at our February meeting what our district would look like if the financial floor fell in," board member Nathan Slonaker said. "With this option, our voters can – even during this tough economy – vote to permanently reinforce that floor without raising taxes."

If the school levy passes, district officials have indicated that additional cuts will not be made to foreign language classes, library services, gym, art, extracurricular activities, sports, textbooks, technology and classroom materials.

"I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water," Hoover said. "We have worked hard as a district to build quality educational services for our parents.

"We know our parents want more of those services and more options, but I think we have to do this in steps," he added.

Charlie Boss of The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.