Worthington school district voters may be asked to approve a no-new-millage bond issue on the November ballot.

Worthington school district voters may be asked to approve a no-new-millage bond issue on the November ballot.

If approved, the issue would raise money to pay for school maintenance, technology, and buses for five years.

District treasurer Jeff McCuen said he hopes to have a recommendation for the bond issue and for an operating levy to the school board in May. The deadline for filing issues with the Franklin County Board of Elections is in August, but educators want to discuss the issues with residents during the summer, McCuen said.

He has not yet determined the size of the operating levy he will recommend, but has decided that a bond issue that does not raise taxes could raise approximately $37.5 million for capital projects over five years.

Over that time period, taxpayers would not pay more for capital expenses, but their tax bills would not decrease as the district pays off its 3.8-mill debt.

As the old debt is paid down, new debt would be issued, but would never exceed the current level, McCuen explained.

Voters approved a no-new-millage bond issue in 2006. It has provided approximately $37.5 million for capital improvements over the past six years. The promise prior to the 2006 election was that the money would last for five years.

"Now we find ourselves in need of additional funding," McCuen said.

As in 2006, funds are needed for maintenance, technology and buses.

Administrators have identified approximately $65 million in capital needs. McCuen has directed them to pare the figure down to less than $39 million.

Maintenance needs over the next five years have been identified at approximately $51 million. Typically, maintenance projects include such items as roofs, parking lots, heating and air conditioning systems, and other updates to the district's buildings and grounds.

Approximately $2.3 million is needed to purchase five or six buses a year for the next five years, McCuen said.

Approximately $12 million is needed to bring the district's technology up to date.

Approximately $2 million of that would pay for installing the district's own fiber optic system.

Currently, Time Warner leases band width to the district. The district needs more power to operate its computers, but cannot afford to pay more to Time Warner, McCuen explained. By investing in its own fiber system, the district would no longer have to pay a fee to Time Warner.

McCuen likened the situation to an individual either leasing a car or buying one.

If you lease, at the end of the lease you must lease again or buy another car, he said. But if you buy a car, at the end of the payment period, you own a car, he said.

"It would be much more cost- effective," McCuen said.