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Community forum

School board wants feedback as it ponders levy

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The Grandview Heights Board of Education is looking to have some give-and-take with the community about a potential school levy at a community forum next week.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in the Grandview Heights High School auditorium.

"We will start with an overview of the latest five-year financial forecast (by district Treasurer Tammy Rizzo) and a review of our levy options, from low millage to the highest," board President Grant Douglass said.

Rizzo's presentation also will include information about expected levels of state funding and anticipated revenue from the Grandview Yard development, he said.

"The question is, do we need a levy," Douglass said. "After the presentation, we will break into small groups and look to get feedback from the community about whether they think we do need a levy and the size of levy they would want."

When the district last went to the ballot in 2010, the board also held a community forum as it began to consider the levy question.

"The community forum was very effective last time," Douglass said. "It's important to get feedback from the community. Ultimately, we will use that feedback to reinforce whatever decision we make."

The district's previous levy was a combined 5.9-mill measure providing operating funds and money for building improvements and technology.

At the time, the board promised the operating levy funding would last three years, but it has been stretched into a fourth year.

In February, Rizzo told board members her estimates show the district will be able to maintain a decreasing budget surplus for the next two years, but will have a $137,000 deficit at the end of fiscal year 2016.

Without a levy, the deficit would grow to $2.965 million in fiscal 2017 and nearly $6.5 million in fiscal 2018, she said.

Rizzo also presented the board with estimates of the budget impact of operating levies totaling 3.9, 4.9, 5.9 and 6.9 mills.

The smallest levy would only keep the district in the black through fiscal 2016. With the next two larger levies, the district would start seeing a deficit in fiscal 2018.

A 6.9-mill levy, the highest option, would maintain budget surpluses throughout the period, with a projected $112,454 surplus for fiscal 2018, Rizzo said.

A 3.9-mill levy would increase property taxes by $136.50 for each $100,000 of home valuation, she said. A 6.9-mill measure would cost an additional $241.50 annually for every $100,000 of a home's value.

Although the filing deadline for the November ballot is not until Aug. 6, the board will likely make a final decision on pursuing a levy in May or June, Douglass said.

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