The Pickerington Local School District now faces the prospect of cutting $9-million from its 2011-12 operating budget after the narrow defeat of an 8-mill replacement levy on Nov. 2.

The Pickerington Local School District now faces the prospect of cutting $9-million from its 2011-12 operating budget after the narrow defeat of an 8-mill replacement levy on Nov. 2.

Voters on Tuesday defeated a replacement levy which, according to district officials, would have generated a total of $8.98-million yearly, including $7.586-million in new revenue.

Unofficial final tallies from the Fairfield County Board of Elections show the levy failed by a count of 8,864 votes (50.64 percent) against the levy to 8,641 votes (49.36 percent) for the levy.

"As I listened to our residents, I've heard they support our schools and our teachers," PLSD Superintendent Karen Mantia said. "The outcome of this election tells me one thing, that school funding is broken, and I hope that those in the (Ohio) Statehouse are listening, as well."

Had Issue 3 passed, it would have replaced an 8-mill levy originally passed in 1977. Because of a state law requiring millage to decrease when property values rise, that levy is currently collected at 1.158 mills.

According to PLSD officials, the replacement levy on Tuesday's ballot would have cost homeowners an additional $209.53 per $100,000 of home valuation annually, or $17.46 per month.

PLSD communications director Lee Cole said the Pickerington Board of Education will have to decide on the size and timing of any budget cuts. She added that it's unclear if the district will seek another levy in May.

"There's been no discussion of a follow-up levy," she said.

As of Tuesday night, it was unclear if the levy vote would qualify for a recount.

According to Jonda Crutcher, a clerk with the Fairfield County Board of elections, the levy would qualify for a recount if the certified totals from the election are within one-half of 1 percent.

The levy results are expected to be certified within 30 days.

In the weeks leading up to Nov. 2, district officials said the levy's failure would result in the possible elimination or reduction of up to 43 teachers and another 42 support staff, as well as up to four administrative positions. Those cuts alone, district officials have said, would reduce operating expenses by more than $3.8-million.

In addition to teacher and staff cuts, the district is eyeing plans to reduce the length of the school day by 40 to 45 minutes at the junior high and high school levels.

Art, music and physical education also could be cut from elementary and middle school programming, district officials said, and up to 11 buses would be eliminated from the current fleet of 71.

The latter move would change school start times to 7:10 a.m. at the district's high schools, 8:10 a.m. at the junior highs, 8:50 a.m. for middle-school students and 9:30 a.m. for elementary students.

Additionally, the district could seek to cut $2.231-million from athletics and extracurricular budgets by requiring students and their parents to "fully fund" those activities, board members said. Currently, they said, pay-to-participate fees cover about one-third of athletic and extracurricular costs.