If voters in the Southwest Licking Local School District approve the school levy Nov. 2, the increase in property taxes would be about $73.50 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

If voters in the Southwest Licking Local School District approve the school levy Nov. 2, the increase in property taxes would be about $73.50 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

If voters, however, reject issue 6 (issue 2 in Fairfield County), deep cuts to the district's budget will follow, school officials have said.

Issue 6 is an 8-mill, five-year emergency levy that is expected to raise a total of $4.5-million. An existing levy, which currently collects at an effective rate of 5.6 mills, raises about $3.2-million but expires at year's end.

An emergency levy is a property tax that serves as a limited operating levy for a specific dollar amount (not to exceed five years).

According to the pro-levy group, Stand Up! Citizens for SWL Kids and Community, levy failure would result in the elimination of co-curriculars and extracurriculars, such as sports, clubs and marching band. In addition, $1.57-million in certificated positions would be cut, as well as $305,000 in classified positions and $225,000 in administrative positions.

SWL board members Oct. 14 discussed cuts and changes, including split sessions, should the levy fail. Even if it passes, deficits are expected again in two years.

Superintendent Forest Yocum has said the administration had developed its cuts based upon strict state minimum requirements.

"Our curriculum offerings, our tech prep initiatives, our everything, was going to be eliminated, not reduced, " business teacher Dave Cater said. "Educators in non-core, non-test classes are in a very vulnerable position. However, for us in the business department at Watkins Memorial, to learn that our total existence was going to be totally eliminated, we were totally broadsided by that decision."

Carter said staff members were notified that if the levy does not pass, their services would no longer be necessary.

"The entire business department was being eliminated, not reduced," he said.

The district budget for 2011 is projected at $35-million.

State funding has fallen during recent years, district treasurer Richard Jones said. In 2008, SWL received $11.7-million from the state. In 2009, the figure fell slightly to $11.65-million. In fiscal year 2010, which ended June 30, the amount fell to $11.55-million. For 2011, which will end next June, the projection is $11.36-million.

In 2008, district expenditures rose significantly, by 8.8-percent over prior years, Jones said. In 2009, district expenditures increased by 4.3 percent and in 2010 by 1.7 percent.

"We put a 10-percent budget cut in for fiscal year 2010," Jones said. "We've known for several years this was coming, so we've taken steps to reduce the growth in spending."

For the current year, all discretionary pay is frozen. Administrators receive no base-pay increase and no step increases. Teachers have agreed to a freeze in base pay but remain eligible for step increases.

"If this levy passes, we should be OK this year and next, assuming no significant reduction in state foundation funding," Jones has said.