Hilliard City Schools leaders' 2019 goals will include discussion of when to ask for a new funding source.

"That conversation will probably begin in October," district treasurer Brian Wilson said.

District leaders would have to decide whether a new funding request would be through a property-tax levy or an earned-income tax, Wilson said.

Voters last approved a funding request in 2016 with a 4.5-mill operating levy and $50 million bond issue on the ballot as Issue 58.

At the time, Wilson told ThisWeek the levy and bond increased district residents' property-tax bills by about $169 per $100,000 of property value, meaning that in 2017 they paid $1,894 per $100,000 of property value.

District officials promised not to seek a levy until at least 2020 after voters approved Issue 58 in 2016, said Stacie Raterman, a spokeswoman for the district.

"We promised our community we would not be back on the ballot until 2020, and that remains our commitment," Raterman said.

As an example of how an earned-income tax would work, an additional 0.5 percent in earned-income tax could be withheld from every employed school district resident, regardless of where the resident is employed, and that amount would be returned to the school district, Wilson said.

An earned-income tax would be collected only on wages, not on pensions or Social Security, he said.

Bexley and Reynoldsburg are among the central Ohio school districts that utilize an income tax, according to Wilson.

"The (Hilliard) Board of Education will vote to decide which type of levy goes on the ballot, whether it's an earned-income (tax) or property-tax (levy)," Raterman said.

As for academics, building a plan to prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist is another goal in 2019.

"We will begin asking people to dream and vision about what will be needed from our graduates in 2030," Superintendent John Marschhausen said.

The district will accomplish this through the "Next X" initiative, a vision for student learning and preparedness in the century's third decade, he said.

Marschhausen introduced Next X during his State of the Schools address last October, and his goal is to present a final Next X plan at his State of the Schools address in October 2019, he said.

Initially, nine subgroups will meet, each led by a director from the district's central office.

The subgroups will include district staff members and external experts collaborating to create the Next X framework, Marschhausen said.

The effort will establish eight to 10 specific areas on which to focus, and the district then will "seek experts in our community to assist us in being as accurate and purposeful as possible to set goals that ensure our students are ready for tomorrow," he said.

The format for engaging the community still must be decided, he said.

Marschhausen said district leaders "hope to be as intentional and purposeful" as the creators of the current "2020 Plan" were when it was developed in 2008 under the former superintendent Dale McVey.

"Our district's mission never changes, but what 'ready for tomorrow' means does change," he said but noted the 2020 was "spot on" in getting the district to where it stands today.

But the district's goals are not limited to academic success, Marschhausen said.

"We will continue to focus on the socio-emotional health of our students," he said. "It's no longer just about teaching our students but about making sure students are healthy, mentally and physically."

Mike Abraham, director of student well-being, a new position for the 2018-19 school year, will help the district achieve that goal.

"The collective efforts focus (in part) on the prevention of drug abuse and suicide while promoting mental well-being," Abraham said.

Finally, district leaders are planning plenty of infrastructure improvements in 2019.

Because construction of Hilliard Memorial Middle School, 2900 Walker Road, finished about 10 percent under budget in 2018, "we can address a few more things than we planned," Deputy Superintendent Mike McDonough said.

Construction was completed for $34 million, about $4 million less than the projected $38 million, on the school, which opened last August, McDonough said.

Beacon and Britton elementary schools are in line for new roofs and the final portion of a new roof will be added at Hilliard Darby High School, he said.

Parking-lot improvements are in store at Avery and Darby Creek elementary schools, Hilliard Station Sixth Grade School and portions of Darby and Davidson high schools, McDonough said.

Tennis courts also will be upgraded at Heritage and Weaver middle schools, he said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo