The Canal Winchester Times

Final unofficial tally shows Groveport Madison levy losing by 16 votes

Just 16 votes appeared to separate a win from a loss Tuesday for the Groveport Madison school district.

Final unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections show the district’s 7.08-mill, five-year emergency levy failing by a count of 1,613 votes for (49.75 percent) to 1,629 votes against (50.25 percent.)

“This is not only a blow to our district but to our entire community,” Superintendent Bruce Hoover said.

However, provisional ballots, if any were cast, could change that. If the margin doesn’t change, there will be a recount. The $5.5-million levy would have added $217 per $100,000 of home value to homeowners’ property-tax bills.

The Groveport Madison Board of Education is scheduled to meet May 16 to vote on a “fiscal stability plan.”  According to a five-year forecast presented to the Ohio Department of Education last year, without levy approval, the district faced a deficit of $438,000 by June 30 and a deficit of $4.7 million by the end of next school year.

Superintendent Bruce Hoover has said the stability plan would save about $4.8 million through reorganizations and cuts. District officials had already decided that a reorganization aimed at saving $2.1 million would take effect regardless of the outcome of the May 7 election. This includes changing attendance boundaries for the elementary schools and restructuring the middle school and junior high buildings.

If the unofficial final vote stands, the district will need to shave another $2.6 million from its budget. The fiscal stability plan lists several ways to accomplish this, including eliminating busing for high school students and all physical education classes, plus consolidating some sports and extracurricular activities. Those that are not consolidated would be converted to “club activities” that would not be funded by the district.