Gahanna-Jefferson three-part tax issue fails by slim margin

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools administrative offices

It was a nail biter all night long for Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools' Issue 22, a three-component tax issue totaling 10.69 mills that appears to have failed. 

With all precincts reporting and absentee ballots counted, the issue failed 13,689 votes to 13,584 votes, or 50.2% to 49.8%, according to unofficial results Nov. 3 from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

By state law, an automatic recount occurs if an issue's results are equal or less than ½ of 1%. The difference, according to the unofficial results, is 0.4%.

Also, according to Aaron Sellers, the elections board's spokesman, "absentee and provisional ballots could have a big impact."

The issue would have provided funds to build a new Lincoln High School, additions to other district school buildings as well as operating funds for the district. 

The issue was earmarked for the second phase of the master facilities plan, said Superintendent Steve Barrett, and included a 4.93-mill bond issue and a 1.5-mill permanent-improvements levy, for a total of 6.43 mills.

Barrett said the district also sought a 4.26-mill operating levy to hire additional staff to keep pace with increasing enrollment and meet additional costs related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The bond issue, operating levy and permanent-improvements levy totaled 10.69 mills.

The additional cost for the total package would have been $374 annually per $100,000 of  property value.

District treasurer Mike Verlingo said the bond and permanent-improvements levy would have been used to service debt for the construction of new facilities – a new Lincoln High School, expansion to all of the middle schools and some of the elementary schools.

He said the operating component of the levy was for the current operations, for transportation, maintenance, salaries, wages and all the ongoing expenses of the district to keep it solvent.

Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/Gahanna for updates later this week.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla