The Columbus City Schools Board of Education last week passed the final piece of legislation needed to place an operating levy and a bond issue before voters in November.

The Columbus City Schools Board of Education last week passed the final piece of legislation needed to place an operating levy and a bond issue before voters in November.

Board members voted unanimously during a very short Aug. 12 meeting to put both a four-year, 7.85-mill levy and a 24-year, $164-million "no new millage" bond issue, bundled together, on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Combined, the operating levy and the bond issue would cost taxpayers approximately $275 a year in additional taxes per $100,000 of assessed property value.

Board Vice President Carol Perkins, who ran the meeting in President Terry Boyd's absence, asked members to begin considering what promises they will make to voters if the issues pass.

In 2004, the last year a district levy was approved, the board promised to keep spending growth capped at 3 percent annually.

Following the meeting, Perkins said she is unsure if the 3-percent cap is on the table.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't know what the discussions are going to entail," Perkins said. "There haven't been any specifics that I've heard from any of the board members that said specifically what the accountability would be moving forward."

Superintendent Gene Harris said she isn't against accountability, although she said it has to be done appropriately.

"We've got to make sure that we are doing it in a way that allows us to continue to accelerate," Harris said. "What we've been talking about recently is making sure we stretch those dollars for four years."

The district has labeled the 1.13-mill bond issue as "no new millage" because it will not raise the current number of mills -- 3.9 -- collected by the district. A majority of funds from the bond issue would go to the third phase of the district's facilities project, which includes construction of 12 schools. The remainder would be spent on computers, textbooks and replacing school buses.

If approved, funds generated by the levy would help pay to phase in the Ohio Core curriculum, a statewide mandatory program that aims to boost science and math in schools. Other uses include four regional, theme-based schools and a reduction in class sizes from third grade down.

dcross@thisweeknews.com