New Albany News

New Albany-Plain Local

November levy request possible

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The New Albany-Plain Local school board and the financial review and reporting committee are expected in May to talk about a potential levy for the November ballot.

The district's last operating levy was approved Nov. 6, 2012. Issue 50 included a 2.59-mill bond issue to generate $45.1 million and a 4.24-mill continuous operating levy to generate $3.51 million annually.

The bond issue is paying for construction of the 2-8 building between the 2-5 elementary building and New Albany Middle School and other site improvements, including a new bus loop and reorientation of several building parking lots.

The operating levy was expected to keep the district in the black through fiscal year 2015, district officials have said.

In 2008, district voters approved a 24.4-mill permanent operating levy to collect $21.7 million per year. It is a continuing levy, which was the first for the district.

District spokesman Patrick Gallaway said the school board in 2012 asked for a smaller operating levy and told voters to review the district's progress in two years.

He said school board members said they wanted voters to see results and see what the district is achieving before they are asked for more funds.

"That two-year cycle is now here," Gallaway said.

Treasurer Rebecca Jenkins told the FRRC on April 21 the district's estimated ending cash balance for fiscal year 2015 is $5.8 million and the district is projecting a deficit at the end of fiscal year 2016.

Jenkins said the district has funneled permanent improvements -- such as bus and textbook replacements -- into the general fund since the last permanent improvements levy expired in December 2009. She said other expenses that would have been funded by a permanent improvements levy, such as building maintenance, are part of a capital-improvements plan being developed this year.

Superintendent April Domine said the capital-improvements plan includes projected maintenance and replacement costs for existing assets.

FRRC member Dave Demers lamented that the 2-8 building would not be fully functional in November if the district decides to move forward with a levy.

Domine said one wing of the building would be open in the fall and will accommodate the district's anticipated growth for the 2014-15 school year. The rest of the building is expected to open in January.

She said the district decided to open only part of the building this year to save on overtime labor costs.

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