Columbus voters won't see another school tax levy until 2012, according to a resolution passed by the Columbus school board.

Columbus voters won't see another school tax levy until 2012, according to a resolution passed by the Columbus school board.

At its Aug. 19 meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution that promised to keep a levy off the ballot for four years; however, it did not propose a spending cap.

The board's goal was to offer voters an incentive to approve a combined bond issue and an operating levy that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The combined issues will cost taxpayers approximately $275 a year in additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed property value. The measure includes a four-year, 7.85-mill levy and a 24-year, $164-million "no new millage" bond issues.

The district labeled the 1.13-mill bond issue as "no new millage" because it will not raise the current number of mills -- 3.9 -- that is currently collected.

After the meeting, board president Terry Boyd said the resolution, in essence, was a less stringent version of a similar promise made to voters when the district last sought a levy.

At the time, the board promised the district's expenses wouldn't increase more than 3 percent annually.

The resolution did not specify a spending limit as in the past, because the district wants the ability to deal with unknown events and not be hampered by a restriction, Boyd said.

"We are asking the district to meet very rigorous goals and we believe we can stay in an annual increase of 4.35 percent," Boyd said. "That's the target. Sometimes it could be less and sometimes it could be a little bit more. We want to have that flexibility based on revenue."

He added, "There were some cases (in the last levy cycle) where we did get an unexpected influx of dollars that we could not use and we thought that was detrimental."

Currently, the district estimates an annual expenditures increase of 4.1-percent without the bond or levy. If the two issues pass the district estimated the annual expenditure increase would be 4.35 percent.

Among other things the resolution states is the levy would be used to return an hour to the school day, add four new theme-based schools and reduce the student-teacher ratio for kindergarten through third grade.

The resolution goes on to state that the district will cut $76-million in four years and close six buildings as warranted by enrollment figures.

In addition, the bond will be used to continue the district's facilities master plan -- which includes the construction of 12 schools -- and for the purchase of new books, computers and buses.

Board member W. Carlton Weddington said the resolution was a good start and should help the district gain support from the community.

Weddington said he agreed with the resolution and its ability to allow district to remain flexible with its spending.

"I was very upfront about my apprehension about a cap," Weddington said.