Although voters approved the Bexley City School District's 9-mill operating levy Nov. 5, its five-year financial forecast projects a possible return to the ballot for another operating levy in the spring or fall of 2022.

The 9-mill operating levy was approved by 3,215 votes (68%) in favor to 1,489 votes (32%) against, according to final results certified by the Franklin County Board of Elections. The district estimates the levy will generate about $5 million per year and cost residents approximately $315 annually per $100,000 of home market value. Collections will begin in 2020.

The funds generated will be used for staff, supplies and other operating expenses. The levy is expected to last for three years, treasurer Kyle Smith said at the school board's Nov. 18 meeting. Approximately 80% of the district's budget goes toward staff salaries and benefits, he said.

"We said we would not have a surplus with this levy," Smith said. "We would come really close to breaking even, still a little bit of deficit spending."

The district's five-year financial forecast that Smith compiled projects the following:

* $40,281,459 in revenues and $41,147,037 in expenditures in fiscal 2020 (a spending deficit of $865,578).

* $42,685,232 in revenues and $43,205,997 in expenditures in fiscal 2021 (a $520,765 deficit).

* $42,747,390 in revenues and $45,024,834 in expenditures in fiscal 2022 (a $2,282,444 deficit).

* $42,797,940 in revenues and $46,965,311 in expenditures in fiscal 2023 (a $4,164,371 deficit).

* $42,919,382 in revenues and $48,868,661 in expenditures in fiscal 2024 (a $5,949,279 deficit).

The district has experienced an 18% enrollment growth in recent years and is expected to continue to grow over the next 10 years, Smith said.

Placing another levy on the ballot in 2022 would be "primarily due to student needs and our potential growth that we've been seeing as a trend," he said.

Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller said she plans to present details about potential staffing needs at the board's Dec. 9 meeting.

"It's also important that the forecast is done before we start looking at staffing because it (staffing) has to live within the forecast. It cannot add to it (financially)," she said.

District officials continually evaluate how to maximize resources, Miller said.

"We're always looking at grant funds and other things that can be repurposed -- is there an old initiative that we aren't doing any more that we don't need any more and we can reallocate?" she said.

"The needs of students do change quite a bit, and it's important that our staffing needs also change."

The Dec. 9 meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district's Cassingham complex, 326 S. Cassingham Road.

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