The Canal Winchester Times

Two spring school levy options up for discussion Dec. 16

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Canal Winchester Board of Education will be taking a second look at two levy scenarios at its Dec. 16 board meeting.

Both would seek a substitute emergency levy for the current $5.83 million amount, but one option is for five years and one is for seven years.

The district's current $5.83 million emergency levy will expire Dec. 31, 2014.

Members asked Superintendent Jim Sotlar at the board's Nov. 18 meeting to draft resolutions of necessity for both options. If the board does decide to place a levy on the spring ballot, it must pass a resolution of necessity and a resolution to proceed in time to meet the Feb. 5, 2014, filing deadline with the Franklin County Board of Elections.

District Treasurer Joyce Boyer presented six possible alternatives to school board members during a special meeting Nov. 16.

The list included taking no action; renewing the existing levy at the current rate; reducing the rate of the existing levy by $1 million or $2 million; waiting to renew the present emergency levy until 2015; and placing an $8 million emergency levy on the ballot in 2015 to generate the same amount of funds the expired emergency levy would have brought in.

Boyer said the five-year financial forecast indicates that without a renewal of the emergency levy, Canal Winchester schools face a $5.3 million deficit by June 30, 2017, and $13.9 million deficit by June 30, 2018.

"During the meeting (Nov. 16), I think, in my opinion, we have limited our options down to either an emergency renewal or a substitute emergency renewal and we talked about the length in terms of five years, seven years and 10 years at the same amount or reducing it," Sotlar said during the regular board meeting Nov. 18.

If the current emergency levy expires without being renewed or substituted, "the district would no longer have the ability to renew the levy and take advantage of the state continuing to pay the 12.5-percent rollback," Boyer said.

"This means that the taxpayers would have to pay the full $5.83 million instead of the approximate $5,101,250 that they are currently paying," she said.

Based on the options presented, only a couple scenarios would place the school district in a positive cash balance by June 30, 2018.

At the Nov. 18 meeting, the board discussed the benefits of placing a substitute emergency renewal on the ballot for the same amount as the present emergency levy.

This substitute levy would allow the district to collect what it currently receives from existing homeowners and businesses, but would also generate money from new construction in the district.

"The most important part is that it renews what we currently have and there is an opportunity to gain a few extra dollars without increasing the school property taxes or school taxes," Sotlar said.

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