Bexley City Schools officials say they are grateful for the community's support in approving a 9-mill operating levy that will generate about $5 million per year.
According to final, unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, the levy was approved by 3,188 votes (68%) to 1,474 votes (32%), with all 10 precincts reporting.
"On behalf of Bexley City Schools, I want to say thank you to our community, the Bexley Excellence Committee and the Bexley staff and students for their efforts in passing this levy," John Barno, president of the Bexley school board, said in a statement. "The continued support of our community will allow us to maintain the quality of education we have come to expect in Bexley."
"We are grateful to Bexley voters for tonight's strong demonstration of support for excellent schools," Ted Cahill, chairman of the Committee for Bexley Excellence, the campaign run by residents in support of the levy, said after results had been tabulated. "We also want to thank all the volunteers who knocked on doors, stuffed envelopes and provided the financial and material resources to make this campaign a success, as well as superintendent Kim Miller, treasurer Kyle Smith and members of the board of education for the long hours they put in to educate our community about this vital issue."
The district estimates the levy will cost residents approximately $315 annually per $100,000 of property valuation. Collection will begin in 2020.
The funds it will generate will be used for staff, supplies and other operating expenses, Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller said in a news release. Approximately 80% of the district's budget goes toward staff salaries and benefits, according to the district.
"Our community's support on this levy is a commitment to the success of our students," Pietsch Miller said. "We are so appreciative to all the volunteers and supporters who have made supporting the education of Bexley students a priority."
In the race for two seats on the school board, Alissha Mitchell and Victoria Powers received more votes than incumbent Mike Denison and challengers Sarah Ackman and April Walsh. Powers received 2,055 votes (26%), and Mitchell received 1,082 votes (23%), according to the elections board. Denison received 1,434 votes (18%), Ackman received 1,258 (16%) and Walsh received 1,209 (16%).
Mitchell, 43, is a commercial property manager for NAI, Ohio Equities LLC. She previously served on the Bexley City Schools Board of Education beginning in February 2015, when the board unanimously appointed her to fill the unexpired term of former board member Carol Fey. Mitchell was elected by voters in November 2015 to serve the final two years of Fey's term.
Mitchell said she's encouraged that Bexley residents approved the levy.
"Our community has told us they trust and they trust us to be good stewards of that investment," she said.
Mitchell said she plans to focus on issues that she heard residents raise throughout the election, including promoting diversity and inclusion in the schools, improving services for students with special needs, strengthening literacy for kindergarten through third-grade students, and enhancing the district's communication with the community.
"I've always been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in our schools," she said. "We need to make sure we're giving each of those priorities our commitment."
Powers, 59, is an attorney and adjunct professor at Capital University Law School. She holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Mount Holyoke College and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She and her husband, David, have two children. She has lived in Bexley for 22 years.
Powers could not be reached for comment.
Voters reelected incumbent Bexley City Council member Troy Markham and chose Matt Klingler, Jen Robinson and Jessica Saad as new council members from a field of seven candidates, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler was also reelected, having run unopposed.
With all precincts reporting, Markham led the field with 2,595 votes (18%) followed by Robinson, 2,161 (15%), Saad, 2,138 (15%), Klingler, 1,858 (13%), Meagan Matteson, 1,727 (12%), Joel Greff ,1,517 (11%), Mary Gottesman, 1,297 (9%) and Ian Nickey, 1,131 (8%).
Markham, 50, teaches biology at Ohio State University.
He was elected in 2015 and serves as chairman of council's Service and Environmental Committee.
Klingler, 34, is a project manager for Farber Corp., a construction firm.
Robinson, 48, is the director of Harmony KIDS, the youth arm of Columbus' Harmony Project, an organization that brings residents together to perform concerts and participate in community service projects.
Saad, 41, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She holds a bachelor's degree in telecommunications, political science and communications from Indiana University.