Bexley City Schools likely won't place a funding request before voters in May, Superintendent Mike Johnson said.

Bexley City Schools likely won't place a funding request before voters in May, Superintendent Mike Johnson said.

A task force formed to discuss district finances probably will recommend a ballot issue for November 2010, said Johnson, who formed the committee to solicit input from the community.

The task force has been considering whether to put an issue on the May or November ballot next year. Member Bob Burke said the consensus was to wait until November 2010, when the task force believes there's a greater chance for the measure to pass.

Factors in the committee's decision include the income-tax increase recently passed by Columbus voters and the Bexley Public Library levy that's on the ballot this November.

"There is some concern that there might be some voter fatigue," Burke said.

He said the committee will need to share with voters what the district has done to cut costs.

Johnson said the task force couldn't find a compelling reason to put a levy on the ballot in May. However, putting a levy on the November 2010 ballot makes the stakes much higher, he said.

If the levy fails in November 2010, the district would have to wait until 2011 to try again. And the levy amount would be higher because more of the district's fund balance would have been spent.

Johnson said the committee has suggested hiring a firm to conduct a survey, as was the case the last time the district went on the ballot. Bexley voters approved a school district income tax in 2004.

"We came up with the form and amount for the levy after doing the survey," Johnson said.

A political action committee would be formed to conduct the survey, because district funds cannot be spent on a levy effort, he said.

The timing of the survey would be imperative, Johnson said. If the survey is conducted too early, he said, economic conditions could change and the survey would become irrelevant.

School board member Diane Peterson said it is important for the community to understand the PAC would be responsible for fundraising.

"Not one district dollar would be going to that," she said.

Peterson also encouraged community involvement in getting an issue passed. It will be important for residents to step forward and work on the levy campaign, she said.

School board president Andrew Sutter said feedback from the task force is important, but he pointed out the board of education will make the final recommendation for a ballot issue.

Sutter believes it's a risk to wait until November 2010. The last time a levy failed the district had to absorb a $1-million loss, he said, and it went back to voters with a more modest proposal for a shorter period of time to pass the levy.

In May 2003, Bexley schools asked voters to approve an 8.75-mill operating levy. The levy was defeated and the district went back on the ballot in November to pass a 3.5-mill levy.

Sutter, Peterson and Steve Grossman aren't running for re-election, meaning the board of education will have three new members in January. To get a levy on the May ballot, the new board would have to make a decision in February.

Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli said May and November elections are scheduled in 2010. Local issues must be filed with the board of elections 75 days before any election, he said.