School board members will wait until June to decide whether to ask Hilliard City Schools voters to consider an operating levy in November.

But it appeared Monday, April 27, they might be leaning against moving ahead with a levy request.

“This is not the year to be doing that,” board member Paul Lambert said.

Without it, the district will begin deficit spending in fiscal 2021, according to treasurer Brian Wilson.

Without a levy in November, the district will spend at about a $5 million deficit in fiscal 2021 and at about a $10 million deficit in fiscal 2022.

Typically, Hilliard seeks a levy the year before deficit spending begins, “but these are different times,” Wilson said.

The district has a cash reserve to cover the deficit for the next several years, Wilson said, but it will require a greater-than-usual amount of mills when the time comes to seek a levy.

“The longer we wait, the bigger the levy,” Lambert said.

The amount of mills the district could ask for in November has not been determined.

Wilson said that decision would be made after the district learns the amount of state funding it would receive, an answer district leaders should learn by the end of May.

Meanwhile, the district is working toward a myriad of scenarios for how to educate students when the next school year begins in August.

Superintendent John Marschhausen said the picture should be clearer – as much as it can be – by the end of May.

One potential scenario includes half of the district’s nearly 17,000 students attending classes on alternating days, two days a week, and reserving the fifth weekday for intervention, Marschhausen said.

The district also is preparing for an unknown number of parents and students who will be provided the opportunity to receive a 100% online education, even if students can return to school buildings by August.

Marschhausen said the district is in the early stages of collaborating with leaders of the Lakota Local School District in suburban Cincinnati to develop an improved online curriculum for K-6 students.

Additional considerations include creating protocols to switch, as necessary, from blended online and in-class learning to exclusive online instruction if flare-ups of the coronavirus occur, as many health experts have predicted, he said.