Voters will find a tax issue on the May 8 ballot that, if approved, would fund a new elementary school and improvements for K-8 buildings in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

Gahanna-Jefferson school board members unanimously approved a resolution Jan. 25 to place an operating levy and a bond issue on the primary ballot.

The issue is for 5.5 mills, with a 1.22-mill, 30-year bond issue and a 4.28-mill continuous operating levy.

The cost to the owner of a house with a market value of $100,000 would be an additional $16 per month.

Superintendent Steve Barrett said the proposed issue is the result of a 2017 Master Facilities Plan meant to address overcrowding and the need to update school facilities.

The new elementary school would replace the current Lincoln Elementary School, which is dilapidated, he said.

The bond would also cover the cost of renovating restrooms, media centers and classrooms in K-8 buildings.

Barrett said the district has been dedicated to the fiscally responsible management of funds raised through its last operating levy, which passed in 2011, and made $1.3 million in reductions last spring to extend the life of that levy.

Barrett said the district worked with a Master Facility Planning Committee, which included parents, school leaders and community members, to develop this plan.

Board member Matthew Campbell said the district’s stakeholders have asked for a plan for years, and this leadership has finally provided that and attached it to the ballot issue.

“I feel that we’ve thinned down the budget as much as possible in the time we had,” he said. “It’s a good time to move forward.”

He said he knows some people may disagree with the plan or the concept of seeking a levy.

“I’d have to say this board has probably done the most work and the leadership has done the most work of any Gahanna board or leadership in the past decade, knowing how to get everything communicated and put together in the right way.”

For more on this story, read the Feb. 1 issue of the ThisWeek Rocky Fork Enterprise.