On Friday the 13th, New Albany-Plain Local Schools Superintendent Michael Sawyers was standing on a roof at the New Albany High School campus.

Some superstitious types might say he was tempting fate.

Sawyers would say he was up there to record a video showing how badly roof repairs are needed.

"You can't see it from the ground," Sawyers said. "I had to do something to make it real for people."

The roof video was one of five the district is in the process of posting online to demonstrate the funding needed for roofing, heating and cooling, technology infrastructure, school buses and security, Sawyers said.

The communication comes as the district gears up for the Nov. 7 general election, when voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a 1.25-mill, five-year permanent-improvements levy.

Early and absentee voting began Oct. 11.

District officials have said the levy likely would factor into the number of capital-improvements projects the district is able to afford over the next five years and into the timing and amount of the next operating-levy request.

According to district estimates, $12.7 million would be needed over five years for capital improvements.

The district spends an average of $1.3 million per year from the general-revenue fund on capital improvements, but to meet all needs, an average of $2.5 annually would need to be spent.

Impact to residents

A 1.25-mill levy would generate approximately $1.17 million annually for five years and would be used for capital-asset repairs and replacements, district spokesman Patrick Gallaway said.

Levy approval would result in an annual cost of $153.13 annually for taxpayers whose homes have a market value of $350,000, according to Jenkins. That equates to $43.75 annually per $100,000 of property value.

Currently, the district's total effective millage is 59.74, which includes inside millage (a term referring to the property taxes for which the Ohio Constitution authorizes collection without a vote) and voted-in bond and levy millage, according to figures Jenkins provided.

The district's general-fund tax revenue is $47 million, and the bond, or debt, millage is $10 million, for a total tax collection of $57 million, according to Jenkins.

Based on those figures, the owner of a home with a $350,000 market value pays approximately $6,400 annually in school-district property taxes, she said.

The $6,400 estimate doesn't include any of the other central Ohio governments and agencies that collect property taxes, she said.

That amount should decrease shortly because 2.5 mills to repay bond debt is expected to come off the books at the end of December, according to Jenkins.

Taxpayers with a $350,000 home valuation currently pay an annual cost of $267.97 for that 2.5 mills of debt service, she said.

Voting history

The last permanent-improvements levy was approved in 2004. In 2009, the district allowed the five-year levy to expire, and its funds were depleted in 2014, according to finance director Becky Jenkins.

In 2012, voters approved an operating levy, which included a 2.59-mill bond to build the facility now known as New Albany Intermediate School and a 4.24-mill permanent operating levy to generate $3.51 million.

In November 2014, voters rejected a 6.9-mill operating levy and a 2-mill permanent-improvements levy. Both levies would have been permanent.

The district has remained off the ballot since 2014 "due to greater-than-expected revenue and planned expenditure reductions in an effort to remain off the ballot for general-fund revenue as long as possible," Jenkins said. "(Michael) Sawyers and I worked diligently to reduce (fiscal 2017) expenditures by the board's financial goal of $560,000. Through hard work and thoughtful planning, we exceeded that goal and reduced costs by almost $1.8 million."

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah