Twenty-four people gathered Wednesday night to discuss possibilities for a permanent-improvement (PI) levy for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Twenty-four people gathered Wednesday night to discuss possibilities for a permanent-improvement (PI) levy for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Superintendent Steve Castle and treasurer Brian Ramsay led the participants through an overview of the levy fund's functions and projections with or without a renewal or replacement of the expiring levy.

District officials had hoped to reconvene the entire 70-member finance committee that worked together last year before the operating levy was placed on the November 2008 ballot.

No school board members were present.

"Tonight, we have brought you back together to help us as a school district know how best to proceed," Castle said. "Since 1984, we have never been in a state where we would be having this meeting tonight with any other option except to go back to the ballot."

Castle cited three options for the PI levy: renew millage to the current effective 1.73 mills, replace millage back to the original 2 mills or allow the levy to expire.

Millage has been replaced to 2 mills every five years since 1984.

The PI levy collects about $1.6-million annually and currently costs about $52.98 per every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Castle said his recommendation to the board July 27 would be to allow the levy to expire and absorb some of the expenses into the $16.4-million operating-fund carryover balance and the $2-million PI-fund carryover balance.

Most participants agreed with Castle's recommendations.

"I think it's a prudent move," said Mike Covey, a former member of the larger finance committee. "I think it gives the community a much-needed tax break."

Harlan Louis, another member of the committee, said he thought it would be inconsistent with previous information to let the levy expire.

"It was tough economic times in November," he said. "We said we were willing to pay this much extra. There wasn't any type of promise the PI would be rolled back."

Castle said board members likely would take action on the PI levy during Monday's board business meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

For more information, read the July 30 issue of ThisWeek New Albany.