Superintendent Steve Dackin said Monday he will ask the Reynoldsburg Board of Education at its June 17 meeting to place an operating levy on the November ballot.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said Monday he will ask the Reynoldsburg Board of Education at its June 17 meeting to place an operating levy on the November ballot.

Dackin said between now and then, he will be meeting with the board's finance committee to determine what the millage will be for the levy.

"This is something we communicated prior to the (March 4) bond issue, and (former superintendent) Dick Ross in the November and December board meetings publicly stated the need this district has for operating money, with or without the passage of the bond issue," he said.

Dackin said since the last operating levy was passed in 1997, the district has experienced a 7-percent average growth in expenditures and a 4-percent growth in revenue.

"So if you have 7-percent growth in expenditures and 4-percent growth in revenue, it doesn't take long for that line to catch up, and after 11 years, it caught up," Dackin said.

"Clearly, we've made the case all along that we need operating money, and whether we passed the bond issue in March or not, we need operating money," he said. "In effect, we're operating on 1997 money, and I think as a matter of a business model, we have been as frugal as we can be to operate this district over that time."

Dackin said when the facilities plan was approved in 2001, district officials indicated t hat an operating levy would be needed eventually.

"What we've tried to do in the last four or five years is say we know we're going to come back with a new high school and elementary deal, so we need to stretch and take care of all of our construction because that is what is important to accommodate our growth," Dackin said.

"Then we could compile a request around operating money because we would then know what we need," he said.

Dackin said the district's job is to make sure voters understand how schools are funded in the state of Ohio. He said schools in general have little control over their revenue because they are subject to inflationary and economic issues and must request permission from voters to receive more funds.

"The community has passed three out of four straight bond requests but that money can only be used to build buildings," he said. "If you build more buildings, you are going to increase the district's operating costs when you open them up."

Dackin said if a November operating levy is not passed, the district will continue to stretch and manage its expenditures.

He said one way of doing that is partly through attrition, although he said he is not ruling out layoffs at any time.

"Certainly, if we go out for an operating levy in November and it doesn't pass, then we're going to have to come up with a list of reductions in anticipation of either going back on the ballot in the following year or not," he said.

"The one thing we have more control over is our expenditures but in our situation, when 85 percent of our budget is salaries and benefits for staff to provide services, we're getting into the realm now where we continue to reduce our expenditures -- which can impact the services we're offering," Dackin said.

"Before we get into the position where we're eliminating services, we want to get out to our voters and seek permission for additional revenue," he said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com