The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Board of Education took the final step toward placing a 5.2-mill levy on the May 3 ballot during a Jan. 28 special meeting.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Board of Education took the final step toward placing a 5.2-mill levy on the May 3 ballot during a Jan. 28 special meeting.

Board members debated at length about whether May was the best time to return to the ballot; voters just defeated a levy request in November.

The district's proposed 6.8-mill levy came up short by 96 votes about three months ago, while a 9-mill levy request in May was defeated by about 500 votes.

Board member Jill Schuler voted against placing the issue on the ballot. She said more time is needed to gain citizens' trust. "Have we done everything in our means before going deeper in the pockets of citizens?"

Board members Windy McKenna, Scott Mounts, Charley Wise and Claire Yoder supported the May ballot initiative.

After the decision to place the levy on the ballot, Schuler said she would be "on the front lines" and do her part to support the issue. "It was a timing and trust issue," she said.

Mounts said he also struggled about the levy's timing and "putting together a smart approach."

Superintendent Mark White said 2011 is "critical" to pass a levy, or another $6- to $7-million in cuts will need to be made next year on top of $7-million in reductions that are in the process of being made for 2011-12.

"We don't enjoy asking for more money," he said. "Since they (the community) make up the bulk of support in terms of finances, we have no choice."

The 5.2-mill levy, lasting three years, would generate up to $8-million annually, said treasurer Julio Valladares.

It would cost residents an additional $159 annually per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

For complete coverage of the board meeting, see the Feb. 3 edition of the ThisWeek's Rocky Fork Enterprise.