A Canal Winchester entrepreneur is putting her business skills to use as the leader of the school district's levy campaign.
Lachandra Baker, who has lived in the district for five years and owns a health and wellness company that specializes in all-natural supplements, is chairing the campaign to pass a five year, $5.83-million substitute emergency renewal school levy on May 6.
The district's current $5.83-million emergency levy will expire Dec. 31.
If approved, district officials say the substitute emergency renewal levy will not raise taxes but will allow the district to collect additional income from new development. It would cost $433 per $100,000 of home valuation -- the same amount property owners pay now.
Baker said the levy committee has been preparing for the campaign and is getting ready to put its plan into action.
"We have a marketing plan that covers letter writing, yard signs, social media, word of mouth and personal stories," Baker said. "This has to be a grassroots effort with each parent, community member and supporter, advocating on behalf of the student."
Baker served on previous levy campaigns. She said she jumped into the role as campaign committee chairwoman because she is a lifelong learner and she believes in the "power of education."
"I have grown to know and love the faculty and staff of Canal Winchester schools over the last five years," she said.
"They are wonderful people with a noble calling. It would be my honor and privilege to help them continue to provide the means to create strong citizens of our world through education," she added.
Baker and her husband, Brian, have a daughter, Aujolie, who is in sixth grade, and a son, Jason, in 10th grade.
The school district's five-year financial forecast indicates that without the renewal of the emergency levy, the schools face a $5.3 million deficit by June 30, 2017, and $13.9 million deficit by June 30, 2018.
If the current emergency levy expires without being renewed, the district would no longer have the ability to take advantage of the state continuing to pay a 12.5-percent rollback, according to Treasurer Joyce Boyer.
As a result, Boyer said, taxpayers would have to pay the full $5.83 million instead of the approximate $5,101,250 that they are currently paying if a levy is sought after the current one expires.
Baker said she believes voters should vote "yes" for the May 6 levy because the future of Canal Winchester students depends on it.
"If our kids want to be able to compete with our international counterparts, we have to equip them with the tools to be able to do so effectively," Baker said.
"This levy will not only allow Canal Winchester schools to keep operating efficiently, it will also allow them to bring in programs, technology and innovative ideas to strengthen the core teaching of our students.
"Canal Winchester is a great value for the money," she added.