With about six weeks to convey that Dublin City Schools needs voter approval of an operating levy and bond issue, district officials and members of the campaign committee are moving into high gear.

With about six weeks to convey that Dublin City Schools needs voter approval of an operating levy and bond issue, district officials and members of the campaign committee are moving into high gear.

It's more urgent to get out the message earlier this year because many voters are expected to cast absentee ballots beginning next week, Superintendent David Axner said.

Changes in Ohio law allow any registered voter in Ohio to cast an absentee ballot beginning Sept. 30.

Because of this, district officials and members of the Good Schools Committee are taking a two-pronged approach to the Issue 76 campaign: one targeted at absentee voters and the other to the general electorate, Axner said.

"Other superintendents have shared with me that they missed a window of time because when their first (campaign) literature went out some people had already voted (absentee)," Axner said. "Many of those people voted no and said if they had known what the issue was about they would have voted differently."

The district combined the two issues on the ballot because both are needed, he said.

The $50-million bond to fund capital costs can be structured without raising the current 7.2-mill rate. It includes money for the district's 13th elementary school to ease overcrowding in the northwest part of the district, additions to two middle schools and Coffman High School, safety improvements at all schools, technology, equipment replacement and maintenance.

The 7.9-mill permanent operating levy is expected to meet the district's financial needs through the 2012-13 school year.

If the levy is approved in November, collection won't begin until January 2010. It would cost the owner of a home valued at $200,000 for tax purposes $484 a year, according to the Franklin County auditor's office.

The first campaign mailing will go out within the next week to those who have applied for absentee ballots so they will have information about the combined issue before they vote, Axner said. Two more mailings will go out within the next month to all voters.

Campaign co-chair Mike Brothers said he realized early on that officials would need to be more aggressive earlier in the campaign because it is a presidential election year.

When people remember the long lines from the 2004 presidential election, he's sure absentee ballot requests will increase considerably.

The earlier campaign for the district's issue is "probably the most important thing we will do," Brothers said. "The alternative is the potential of missing several of our voters (with campaign literature)."

In addition to the mailed literature, the committee's Web site -- www.goodschoolscommittee.com -- contains all of the information, including answers to the most frequently asked questions, Brothers said.

For the past few weeks and up until the election, Axner said, district administrators and campaign leaders plan to meet with parents and community members at PTO meetings, neighborhood coffees and specially arranged informational sessions.

"Our goal is to answer all the questions (and) get as much information out so voters can make an informed choice when they go to the polls," Axner said.

While some of the informational meetings are planned for neighborhood or civic organizations, many are scheduled at schools and are open to the public. They will be conducted by Axner or other district administrators, and/or committee members. They are 7 p.m. Oct. 1, Coffman High School; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 Scottish Corners Elementary; 7 p.m. Oct. 6, Riverside Elementary and Karrer Middle School; 7 p.m. Oct. 7, Olde Sawmill Elementary and Wright Elementary; 7 p.m. Oct. 13, Thomas Elementary; 7 p.m. Oct. 14, Wyandot Elementary; 7 p.m. Oct. 20, Indian Run Elementary and Sells Middle School at Sells; 9:30 a.m. Oct. 22, Bailey Elementary; and 7 p.m. Oct. 27, Scioto High School and Davis Middle School at Scioto.