The Bexley City School District is starting to get the word out about an operating levy voters will see in November.

The district held a June 29 information session in the Bexley Public Library to inform residents about the 9-mill operating levy that, if approved, would cost an additional $315 per $100,000 of a home's market value annually, according to district treasurer Kyle Smith's estimations.

Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano has certified the levy would generate about $5 million in its first year of collection in 2020, according to the resolution Bexley's school board approved June 10.

About 20 people attended the June 29 forum, including board members Mike Denison, Michelle Mineo and Melissa Lacroix.

Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller reviewed the main points of the district's strategic plan, which the board approved last August.

If voters approve the levy, it would support the goals outlined in the plan, including fostering continuous improvement in instruction and student learning, Miller said.

"What do we need to accomplish our goals? We need our staff," Miller said. "As a service organization, we deliver services and programming to kids through people. And that's what this operating levy primarily supports."

Smith said the district's current five-year forecast projects a deficit of $4.8 million by fiscal year 2020. He also gave an overview of how the district is funded: 73% in local funding, 20% in state funding, 2% in federal funding and 5% in nontax revenue.

"When you look at Bexley, 73% of our revenue comes from local property and income taxes," Smith said. "So our residents primarily fund our district."

Since voters approved the district's last operating levy in 2010, an issue of 6.5 mills, the district's enrollment has grown by 18% and is projected to continue to grow by 10% in the next five to 10 years, Miller said.

"We're growing in enrollment because people who are selling (homes) don't have children in our schools and people who are buying are sending kids to attend our schools," she said. "There's no indication from the community to reduce hiring."

Denison said that unlike neighboring school districts that also are experiencing enrollment growth, Bexley isn't collecting any additional tax revenue from new housing developments because the community is built out.

"Bexley is not building any houses," Denison said. "We're having all this enrollment growth without any additional income."

Candy Hill, a 40-year Bexley resident and retired teacher with the Columbus City Schools and Columbus State Community College, said she's concerned the levy could strain the finances of homeowners like her.

"I see this as a hardship for people in Bexley who are on a fixed income," Hill said.

Miller said the district is sensitive to those concerns, but emphasized that Ohio's school funding mechanism causes districts like Bexley to rely mostly on local revenue sources.

"We're a growing school district," she said.

For details about the levy, visit bexleyexcellence.com.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews