Four Reynoldsburg residents have been selected by the school district's community campaign committee to lead the campaign in support of a 15.6-mill operating levy on the May ballot.

Four Reynoldsburg residents have been selected by the school district's community campaign committee to lead the campaign in support of a 15.6-mill operating levy on the May ballot.

They are: Daryl Albrecht, David Hedrick, Tamara Ligon and Christine Smith.

Albrecht has lived in Reynoldsburg more than 20 years, and has two children attending district schools. He has been involved in children's community sports programs and the French Run Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program.

Hedrick has been a city resident for 13 years and is a 2008 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School. During his senior year, he served as president of the marching band and is currently studying political science at Ohio State University.

Ligon has lived in Reynoldsburg for five years and has worked in career development, sales and public relations. She has two daughters, one attending Baldwin Road Junior High School and one in all-day kindergarten at Liberty Christian Academy.

Smith has lived in Reynoldsburg for six years and is retired from the U.S. Department of Defense, where she was a computer systems programmer, computer specialist and supervisor. She has two grandchildren in Reynoldsburg schools

Her husband, James H. Smith, was chosen as the campaign committee's treasurer. He is a CPA with a degree in law and has experience in management of finance and administration. He previously served on a board of education in Illinois.

Most recently, he owned a CPA practice in Kentucky until he retired in 2005 and moved to Reynoldsburg.

Albrecht said the four co-chairs have been meeting almost daily, gathering ideas and mapping out a strategy for the campaign.

He said they expect to attract about 200 volunteers, and said the strategy will almost entirely be structured on a grassroots style, by going door-to-door and holding community meetings.

"Really, now we're laying out the plan, the timeline, what areas and what efforts need to take place," he said. "We'll try to put leadership around us for different activities, whether it's canvassing the neighborhood or covering some of the marketing aspects. We plan to do quite a bit of 'feet on the street' type of work this time."

Albrecht said the campaign will be focused on the fact the school district has not asked for operating money since 1997. Proponents want to make sure the voters understand the difference between an operating levy and a bond issue.

Bond issue money can only be used for construction and renovation of new and existing facilities. An operating levy is to be used to fund school services, programs and administration costs.

"This is a long-term investment and we've got to find a way to make this work," Albrecht said. "What we're trying to really get across in a more positive light is it's really the thing we have to do to sustain the value, not just for education but for the community in general."

No official meetings for the campaign have been scheduled yet, but Albrecht said a kick-off meeting likely will be scheduled sometime during the second or third week of March.

Hedrick said he became interested in supporting the levy campaign for several reasons, one of which is to help save music, arts and physical education courses from being cut.

He said he came to the realization that if a levy were not passed, the community and the quality of education in Reynoldsburg would be permanently damaged.

"My motivation was altruistic, but also very objective," he said. "In 1997, we had five fewer schools than we have, or are building, today, more than 2,000 fewer students and the absence of proposed state educational cuts.

"To me, it was a logical accounting issue: We have more students, more schools, and fewer state funds we need more money, or we won't be able to sustain it," he said.

The 15.6-mill levy, if approved, would generate $12,012,047 annually for the district. According to the Franklin County Auditor's Office, it would cost an additional $477.75 annually per $100,000 of home valuation. That equals $39.82 monthly or $1.31 daily.

Board members approved placing the levy on the May ballot after holding a community meeting Feb. 9 and gathering input from the more than 800 people who attended.

District officials said passage of the levy would protect the programs and services now offered in the schools; create long-term stability for the district's operating budget; streamline costs wherever possible, without eliminating student programs; increase communication about financial issues and other issues important to the district.

The campaign committee has set up a Web site for more information about the operating levy campaign and upcoming meetings at www.