South-Western City Schools operating levies have failed at the polls twice so far this year and once in 2008.

South-Western City Schools operating levies have failed at the polls twice so far this year and once in 2008.

The SWCS levy on the Nov. 3 ballot would return sports and extracurricular activities to the district if it passes. Those cuts took effect after a levy failure in May.

The current levy, Issue 47, a 7.4-mill continuous levy, would cost property owners an additional $227 annually per every $100,000 of assessed property value.

According to data from the Columbus Board of Realtors, the average home price in the district for 2008 was $124,690. From January to September of this year, the average home price was $119,953.

If passed, Issue 47 also would generate about an additional $18.5-million annually in school district revenue. School officials have said that amount is needed to avoid a district deficit during the next several years.

School board members approved a measure Oct. 12 to restore busing and extracurricular activities with levy passage. The legislation would enact a fee structure for extracurricular activities only with levy passage.

The board action set fees at $150 per student per sport for high school athletics, $100 per marching band participant, $75 per student per sport in middle school athletics and $20 per participant per activity for clubs.

Also, the board's action set an annual cap of $500 per family. No waivers will be offered based on financial need.

Building hours for school facilities would be extended beyond class time if the levy passes.

If it fails, school officials have said they would need to cut $8-million from the annual budget, which currently totals about $200-million.

Deputy superintendent Phil Warner said Oct. 12 officials would work with the district's three employee unions, a community advisory group and results from a voluntary performance audit by the state to cut $3-million if the levy fails.

He said officials would make further cuts to busing, saving $600,000 annually. They also would cut the administrative staff by 10 positions, instructional staff by 55 positions and classified, or nonteaching, staff by 20 positions.

According to Warner's numbers, the lost positions would save the district about $4.4-million.

Fewer positions would increase class sizes, Warner added.

He said district officials would cut ties with the Metro School and Mosaic programs, a Columbus-based early college high school system offered to students in Franklin County school districts.

Cutting ties with the programs would save the district $40,000 annually, Warner added.

Levy proponents and school board members have said cost-cutting measures alone will not end the problems created by a shrinking budget.

Opponents, however, said school officials have asked for a levy at the wrong time. They have said taxpayers cannot afford the district's employee compensation structure. Also, they have said school board members should seek a levy only after employee salary and benefits have been reduced, and if more local tax dollars are needed. On the ballot in some Grove City precincts Nov. 3 are two liquor options, as well.

Given voter approval, Issue 25b would allow Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight for Parkers Tavern, 3998 Broadway.

If approved by voters, Issue 26b would allow Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight for the Walmart Supercenter at 1693 Stringtown Road.