UA 9-12 Project
'Nonpolitical' group slates levy meeting
Calling itself a "nonpolitical principals and values movement," a local community group dubbed the Upper Arlington 9-12 Project has scheduled an Aug. 16 meeting about the school district's November levy request.
Julie Klusty, a member of the Upper Arlington 9-12 Project, said the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Little Theater in the basement at the Tremont Branch of the Upper Arlington Public Library, 2800 Tremont Road in Upper Arlington.
"This is an important meeting for us," she said. "Dr. Jeffrey Weaver, the Upper Arlington Schools' superintendent, and Andy Geistfeld, the district treasurer, will be joining us to talk about the need for the levy."
She said Upper Arlington school board members have also been invited.
Klusty said the Upper Arlington 9-12 group has about 300 members. Its website is at ua9-12.com.
"Our goal is to educate our citizens on local issues," she said. "We know the school board members and administrators have a lot of business to do at their meetings and not a lot of time to answer questions at those meetings, so this will give people an opportunity to ask what they want to know about the levy."
The website says the movement, founded in April 2009, is "designed to bring us back to the place of community we felt on Sept. 12, 2001."
"The day after our country was attacked, we did not care about Red states, Blue states or political parties," the website says. "We were united as American citizens, standing together to defend the greatest nation ever created."
Its mission statement says the group aims "to take effective, peaceful action to hold our elected officials accountable for the oaths they have sworn."
"We hope to hear school administrators clarify their need for a levy and want to educate residents so that they can make an educated, informed vote in November," Klusty said.
The Upper Arlington Board of Education voted June 27 to proceed with a 5.8-mill operating levy for the Nov. 6 ballot.
Geistfeld said even though the district's five-year financial forecast shows a positive unreserved fund balance of $23,210,000 by the end of fiscal year 2013, district expenses began to exceed revenue this year.
The fund balance is expected to be down to $12.3 million by the end of June 2014, with a deficit of $444,000 predicted for June 2015.
The 5.8-mill levy, if approved by voters, would generate approximately $9.2 million per calendar year for the district and would meet its operating needs for three years, Geistfeld said.
He said the levy would cost homeowners an additional $178 in annual taxes per each $100,000 in property valuation.
Geistfeld said it has been five years since the district's last operating levy was approved. Each year it delays another levy and is in deficit spending, "the higher the millage number would have to be for the next levy," he said.
School district residents last approved a 6.2-mill combined operating and permanent improvement levy in 2007, with 4.2 mills of that for operating funds.
In 2004, voters approved a 7.5-mill operating levy.