The Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors voted unanimously March 10 to endorse the Reynoldsburg school district's 6.9-mill operation levy on the ballot May 4.

The Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors voted unanimously March 10 to endorse the Reynoldsburg school district's 6.9-mill operation levy on the ballot May 4.

The operating levy is incremental, meaning if it is approved, it will start at 6.9 mills and increase by 1 mill a year for the next three years, ending at 9.9 mills.

The levy would cost an additional $211 ($17.58 per month the first year) per $100,000 of home valuation for the first year. That would increase to $241 the next year, $271 the year after that and then to $303.

Chamber board chairman Barth Cotner said there are a multitude of reasons members believe it is important to support the schools.

One is that district officials have been responsible with the resources allocated to them since the last operating levy passed in 1997, he said.

"They've managed those resources effectively and the board feels as a community, we need to have good schools, we need to keep our excellent schools, and given the dynamics the school board has managed, we feel it's appropriate to ask for this levy and we want to actively support the schools," Cotner said.

Chamber president Jan Hills said for a business organization to not support the school levy would be foolish.

"We have to support our community and the education system in our community because the businesses that move into the area have employees that have kids that go to school and they want to be close to where they work," Hills said.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said the connection between a strong community and a strong school system is important because the two "go hand in glove."

Because the May levy is incremental, it would be phased in over four years in order to make it more affordable, Dackin said.

If approved, district officials say it would produce enough revenue to restore transportation services and return art, music and physical education to grades K-6.

"The schools have been responsible while forced to make substantial cuts over the past few years and we must support them to protect our community and our future entrepreneurs and workforce," Cotner said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com