South-Western City School District Superintendent Bill Wise told the school board Monday a plan anticipating possible passage of the Nov. 3 operating levy will be prepared in October.

South-Western City School District Superintendent Bill Wise told the school board Monday a plan anticipating possible passage of the Nov. 3 operating levy will be prepared in October.

Wise said he and other administrators would like to "understand the implications for this round of reductions" before coming up with a restoration plan.

The board implemented $8-million in budget cuts for the new school year after the operating levy failed in May.

"We need to have a full understanding as far as where we are," Wise added.

Board member Randy Reisling asked administrators if at least board members could see in September a plan to restore busing if a 7.4-mill operating levy passes Nov. 3.

Deputy superintendent Phil Warner said administrators might "talk in generalities for a restoration plan" at a Sept. 28 board meeting.

"We just need to get into school and see how things shake out," he said. "There are uncertainties. We are asking for patience as we attempt to work out the things that are unknown."

Reisling also asked about pay-to-play scenarios for the school district.

"We are in the process of collecting information from other districts in the county and school districts throughout the state," Warner said.

He said pay-to-play information might be presented to board members at the meeting Sept. 28.

Also at the meeting, Warner said the district's students and staff will see many changes this school year.

He said administrators went through a lot of "dual planning" in the summer to prepare for the start of school with or without budget cuts, depending on the outcome of the Aug. 4 levy.

According to the still unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, the Aug. 4 South-Western schools levy failed by 546 votes.

That levy was an 8.3-mill operating levy for four years.

The school board is seeking a 7.4-mill operating levy Nov. 3. It will be a permanent levy.

The Nov. 3 levy could cost homeowners an additional $227 per every $100,000 of assessed property value, according to school district treasurer Hugh Garside. He said the levy will generate about $18.5-million annually for the school district if passed.

Warner said enrollment for this school year probably will match projections made earlier this year.

Nevertheless, with the cutting of programs and services, Warner said actual numbers won't be known until students come to class.

"Quite frankly, we don't know what that count is," he said. "We won't really know until day one."

The first day for most students in the district was Aug. 26.

Warner said school buildings will be open an hour before school starts and an hour after school ends this year.

"Obviously, we're attempting to conserve utilities with the reduction of hours," he said.

Warner said administrators will place an added emphasis on walking safety tips for students because of busing cuts.

The cuts will mean more students walking to school and more parents dropping off their children at schools.

"Traffic congestion may be an understatement," he said. "On the driver's side of safety, we just ask for everyone's cooperation."

He said cuts will have little effect on the academics of the district.

"Although there are changes, our core mission has not changed," Warner said. "We are here to educate our 21,000 students. I do believe we're ready for the start of the school year."

ebrooks@thisweeknews.com