Members of the Grandview Heights School Board, meeting in a work session Saturday morning, heard a variety of levy scenarios from Tammy Rizzo, the district's assistant treasurer.

Members of the Grandview Heights School Board, meeting in a work session Saturday morning, heard a variety of levy scenarios from Tammy Rizzo, the district's assistant treasurer.

The board will be determining over the next several months whether to place an operating levy on the ballot in November or whether the district can wait another year.

The last school levy was approved in November 2005 and its life has been extended beyond the three years originally projected.

The state's extension of the full "hold harmless" reimbursement provided districts to make up for the elimination of tangible personal property taxes has been "the main reason we've been able to stay off the ballot," Rizzo said. The reimbursement will begin to be phased out in 2014.

According to the five-year forecast presented to and adopted by the board earlier this month, the district will have a $3.7-million balance at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2010. The district is projected to have a surplus of about $2.4-million in 2010-11 and $805,363 in 2011-12.

Without another levy, a deficit of $1.2-million is projected for 2012-13 and a shortfall of $4.6-million in 2013-14.

The district would begin collecting revenue from a levy approved this year in January 2011, Rizzo said.

Assuming no base salary increase in the district's next contracts with its certified and classified employees, a 4.95-mill levy would have to be passed this year to avoid the deficit and a 9.31-mill measure would be needed in November 2011, she said.

If a 1 percent pay increase is plugged in, the levy amounts would have to increase to 5.25 mills this year or 10 mills in 2011, Rizzo said. With a 2 percent pay increase, the millage levels would rise to 5.63 or 10.69 mills respectively.

A 3 percent pay increase, "which is kind of typical with what's been done here in the past" would require a 5.97-mill levy in 2010 or a 11.38-mill measure if delayed until next year, she said.

Under the current contracts, both certified and classified employees agreed not to receive a pay increase for the first year. They will receive a 2 percent increase in next year and a 2.75 percent increase the following year.

The district has only passed a double digit levy once before, in 2002, Rizzo said.

It will likely be at least a year or two before the district starts seeing any revenue from the Grandview Yard project, Rizzo said.

The Franklin County Auditor has set a $38-million valuation on the properties that make up the Yard project area, she said.

If the district were to receive $100,000 in revenue from the Grandview Yard project in 2012-13 and $200,000 in 2013-14, a 5.65-mill ballot measure would be needed in 2010 or 11.07 in November 2011, Rizzo said.

If one assumes a 2 percent pay increase but also that the district would receive $200,000 in revenue from the Yard in 2012-13 and $300,000 in 2013-14, a 4.31-mill levy would be needed this year or a 9.37-mill measure if the district waits until November 2011, she said.

The various scenarios show that "it would take really good numbers" to keep the district from having to seek a double digit levy if it waits until 2011, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.

The levy scenarios do not include a permanent improvement measure, Rizzo said.

The district's last levy in November 2005 included a 1.65 mill component to fund building maintenance and repair projects and will expire at the end of this year.

O'Reilly said he believes a new permanent improvement levy should include funding for purchasing new and updated computer technology for the schools.

Board member Grant Douglass suggested the district has a right to argue the valuation set by the county and could opt to conduct its own valuation study.

"When you say things like 'in a year or two,' I would ask for you to be more definitive or to tell why you can't be more definitive, (otherwise we'd) have to go to the voters" and ask them to approve a levy without that information, he said.

O'Reilly said he would look into what it would cost to hire a firm to conduct a valuation for the district and bring that information back to the board.

The filing deadline for the November ballot falls 75 days before the election, so the board would have to approve a levy resolution in August, board president Kathy Lithgow said.

The board would actually have to decide the levy question by June since the district would have to get the levy millage certified by the county auditor before passing the final resolution, essentially a two-month process for the board, she said.

The board should plan to hold a community forum in March to provide residents with information about the various levy scenarios and to get their input, O'Reilly said.