Dublin City Schools officials have ruled out a return to voters with a levy request in March.

Dublin City Schools officials have ruled out a return to voters with a levy request in March.

A levy issue on the March 6 primary ballot would mean two resolutions from the school board by Dec. 7, but board members this week decided to forgo a vote in favor of more research.

Superintendent David Axner told board members during a Nov. 28 meeting that a decision on the possibility of a March issue must be made.

“I think we need more time to analyze millage amount and decide what to do with a bond,” board member Gwen Callender said. “I don’t see March as a viable time.”

“March is too soon,” board member Scott Melody said. “We need time to come up with a new plan.”

The board must decide what to do after the failure of a combined bond-levy issue on the November ballot. The $25-million bond issue and 7.2-mill operating levy was rejected by 53 percent of voters Nov. 8.

District officials said the operating levy would have maintained academic excellence across the district, and the bond issue would have funded improvements across the district, such as technology upgrades, classrooms at Deer Run and Glacier Ridge elementary schools, roofing and asphalt.

Axner said the district could go back to voters in another primary in June or during the November elections. Next year, Ohio will have two primary elections: in March and in June. A decision on an issue would have to be made in March to go on the ballot for the June primaries.

Previous conversations among board members have indicated a preference toward November, which would give the district time to make cuts and look at different levy issues.

Gathering opinions from the public already has begun. Axner said two informal focus groups have provided feedback on the November bond-levy issue.

“We’ll continue to get that, and I think there is some consistency in what we’re hearing,” he said.

According to Axner, the district is hearing two things about the Nov. 8 issue: the size of the issue itself and timing, considering the struggling economy.

With a March issue off the table, Axner said, the district will continue to mull over options and look into reductions.

Deputy superintendent Michael Trego spent last week going over reductions, Axner said. “We’re trying to come up with an amount of money in regards to reductions,” he said. “We need to make a decision on the cash balance before we get numbers on reductions.”

The district currently has a 30-day cash balance or carryover that has been instrumental to the district receiving high credit ratings. Axner has said part or all of the cash balance could be used to offset reductions in the district. Reductions will reach across the district, he said. A list of possible reductions was sent to residents prior to the Nov. 8 ballot issue, showing cuts to staffing and several areas of the district. Axner said reductions likely would follow that list. “Every one of those categories will be affected,” he told the board.

When reductions are decided, Axner said, a list will go to unions, staff members and board members. Axner has said he would prefer to announce any layoffs for the 2012-13 school year by February.