The Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education voted Jan. 28 to place a 9-mill levy on the May 2010 ballot to raise funds for operating costs.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education voted Jan. 28 to place a 9-mill levy on the May 2010 ballot to raise funds for operating costs.

Board members voted unanimously to approve the levy, which is expected to generate an estimated $4.1-million annually for the district.

District officials have said the school would operate with a negative balance of $2.5-million by fiscal year 2011 if voters do not approve additional operating expenses.

District treasurer Julio Valladares said the district passed a 7.9-mill operating levy in May 2006. The levy, which generates $11,515,327 a year, was expected to last three years, but the district has been able to extend those funds to last through December 2010.

Still, Valladares is estimating the district would face a $3- to $4-million deficit if revenue is not generated for 2011.

"Property taxes have been declining and state revenues have been declining," Superintendent Gregg Morris said.

He said the district cut nearly $1-million from the 2009-10 budget, but the district will still fall short without an additional operating levy.

Valladares said cuts were made throughout the district.

Morris said the district cut one permanent substitute teacher and reduced the need for some substitute teachers by cutting out professional development time during school hours. The district cut out many field trips and restricted teacher purchases and the purchase of educational supplies.

By looking at the district's copier-machine contract and changing companies, the district saved a little money. The district also hired less experienced teachers, resulting in lower salaries, Morris said.

To put an issue on the May ballot, it must be certified by Feb. 18, Morris said.

The district's total appropriations for fiscal year 2010 are $79.8-million, he said.

Morris will present additional information during the annual state-of-the-schools address, to be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, in the high school auditorium. Previously, the meeting was held in the Lincoln High School cafeteria annex, but Morris said the auditorium would seat more people.

The address will focus on the district's successes in the past year and its coming needs. Morris said he would talk about Clark Hall.

The district owns the 6.8 acres where Clark Hall will sit, at Hamilton Road and Granville Street. Construction is estimated to cost $13- to $14-million. Part of that cost is expected to be deferred from a developer's lease, which allows the developer to lease space on the first floor and for construction of two new retail/office buildings that could be built on site by the developer. Increased property-tax revenue from the new buildings is another benefit for the district and taxpayers, school officials have said.

Residents who attend the state-of-the-schools address will be able to ask questions informally following the meeting, or they may complete a question form.