A day after the Columbus school district revealed an estimated millage for a November operating levy, officials began discussing the costs associated with programs it will pay for.

A day after the Columbus school district revealed an estimated millage for a November operating levy, officials began discussing the costs associated with programs it will pay for.

On May 21, the district's levy millage committee was presented with pricetags for an academic plan outlined by Superintendent Gene Harris earlier this month.

In addition, district officials outlined the cost of the Ohio Core curriculum, a mandatory state initiative that requires more math and science classes to earn a high school diploma.

Treasurer Michael Kinneer estimated last week the district would need an 8.3 mill operating levy -- or about $254 per $100,000 of property value annually -- to keep from going into the red in the 2012-13 school year.

According to Kinneer's report, an 8.3-mill levy would bring in $82-million annually. He said without a cash inflow, by 2013 the district would be in the hole about $369-million.

The report was based on the district maintaining the status quo in terms of programming.

Kinneer said the figure was intended as a starting point.

"We started with a base and we are looking at what we need to add, at what we would like to add," Kinneer said after the meeting. "Everybody needs to process through some lens of realism; we are not going to ask for 14 mills, we are not going to ask for 12 mills."

He said the pricetag associated with Harris' plan was meant to give committee members an idea of how much money the district could need in the future.

The pricetag for Harris' plan would be between $129- and $165-million, depending on what options are undertaken, according to a report by budget director Robyn Essman.

Harris' plan calls for the addition of four specialized schools such as those that teach foreign language or STEM schools -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

She called for four theme-based schools to be built in each of the city's quadrants, at a total cost of $5.4-million over four years.

Another one of Harris' proposal, the addition of universal pre-kindergarten, would cost $26-million during a four-year period.

The implementation of the Ohio Core would cost the district about $70-million during the next four years, according to Essman. The implementation would include $38.2-million to restore a period in the school day, $15.2-million for additional teachers, $6.7-million for counselors and $8-million to update science labs.

The levy millage committee was expected to continue discussing costs at a meeting on Wednesday, after ThisWeek's deadlines.

dcross@thisweeknews.com