New Albany News

School board to choose millage in July

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The New Albany-Plain Local school board on June 16 unanimously approved a resolution of necessity requesting information from the Franklin County Auditor's Office on three levy millages for the Nov. 4 general-election ballot.

The board plans to decide on the millage next month.

"They passed the three options basically as options to consider at the next board work session in July, which includes a listening session with a public opportunity for comment," said district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.

The board workshop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 14, and a regular board meeting is slated at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 28. Both meetings will be in the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

All three permanent levy options would have to be combined with a 2-mill, continuous permanent-improvements levy and would be listed on the ballot as one levy with two purposes.

The district's list of permanent improvements, which include everything from repairing roofs and replacing heating and cooling systems to repaving parking lots and purchasing buses and textbooks, are expected to total $21.5 million over 10 years.

The most recent permanent-improvements levy expired in December 2009. Treasurer Rebecca Jenkins said the permanent-improvements fund is down to $120,000.

The three operating-levy options with cost estimates and annual collection estimates from the Franklin County Auditor's Office are:

* An 11-mill levy that would generate $9,149,524 annually and cost a homeowner $385 per year per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

* A 6.9-mill levy that would generate $5,739,247 annually and cost a homeowner $241.50 per year per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

* A 4.9-mill levy that would generate $4,075,697 annually and cost a homeowner $171.50 per year per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

District officials say an operating levy would prevent a $5 million deficit in fiscal year 2016, which was estimated in the most recent five-year forecast.

District officials told the financial review and reporting committee last week a 4.9-mill levy would require the district to make cuts over the next two years, a 6.9-mill option would allow the district to continue its progress and movement on the strategic plan and an 11-mill option would allow the district to move faster in completing its strategic plan.

The district's most recent operating levy, approved by voters in November 2012, is a 4.24-mill permanent operating levy that generates $3.51 million annually.

The 4.24-mill levy was paired with a 2.59-mill bond issue for $45.1 million to pay for a new school building and site improvements. The bond and levy cost homeowners $209 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The district also has a 24.4-mill permanent operating levy approved in 2008 that collects $21.7 million per year. The permanent levy, which was a first for the district, costs homeowners about $750 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

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