The Olentangy school board has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 28 after learning its 3-2 vote on Dec. 22 is not enough to start the process of putting an operating levy on the May 3 ballot.

The Olentangy school board has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 28 after learning its 3-2 vote on Dec. 22 is not enough to start the process of putting an operating levy on the May 3 ballot.

The Dec. 22 vote was a resolution of necessity to place a three-year, combined 7.9-mill levy and no new-millage bond issue on the ballot. The resolution authorizes the Delaware County auditor to certify the millage amount for the levy.

The district has since learned that a 2/3 majority, or a 4-1 vote, is needed for a resolution of necessity.

The resolution will be considered again on Dec. 28, a press release said. If it passes, final approval of the issue would be considered Jan. 12. The filing deadline is Feb. 2.

On Dec. 22, board members Scott Galloway and Kevin O'Brien voted against the resolution, saying they think a 6.9-mill levy would be enough.

Voting for the issue were board president Julie Wagner Feasel and members Dave King and Stacy Dunbar.

Treasurer Becky Jenkins told board members the county auditor has said assessments made this year show a 10-percent drop in property values. Because of that, Jenkins said, passage of a 7.9-mill levy will mean additional cutbacks or cost-saving measures will be needed in the district to deal with less money from property tax collections. Cutbacks over the three years could be as high as $4.5-million.

Passage of the 7.9-mill levy would mean a tax increase of $241.94 a year per $100,000 of residential valuation. Jenkins previously estimated the levy would raise about $24-million a year if approved by voters. That amount will now be affected by the bigger drop in property values. The auditor's office previously had estimated a 6-percent drop in collections.

The bond issue will require no new millage because the district will restructure its current bond debt, officials have said. It should raise about $24-million to build a new elementary school and pay for some capital improvements, such as textbook purchases and new buses.

Wagner-Feasel said after the meeting that with passage of the 7.9-mill levy, every effort would be made to not cut into academic programs. She said the entire board is committed to doing what is best for the students.

"You'd like a unanimous vote," she said. "I am comfortable with where my board members stand. We have discussed this (issue intensely) ... I'm actually concerned that 7.9 mills isn't enough."

King and Dunbar agreed, saying during the meeting that the levy needs to bring in enough money to sustain programs.

Both Galloway and O'Brien said during the meeting that a levy is needed. But they reiterated concerns from the board's Dec. 8 meeting that they think 7.9 mills is too much and that 6.9 mills would work. They said they don't want to ask too much of taxpayers.

"The downside of any levy failure would be irreparable," Galloway said."

Only one resident spoke during the public participation section of the meeting.

Soni Avey, who told the board she has lived in the district for 30 years, urged board members to think about the impact a levy will have on taxpayers.

"I have supported the schools ... with the economy the way it is, I think you guys should stop and think about this," she said. "People right now with the economy can't afford this."

Voters last approved a levy in 2008 and district officials have said they have honored a pledge made then that they would not seek another levy for at least three years.