Olentangy school board to seek tax issue to fund fourth high school


The Olentangy Board of Education has approved a resolution to place a combined 6.9-mill levy on the March ballot that, if approved by voters, would include funds for a fourth high school for the district.

District officials said the ballot issue is in three parts:

• A “no-new-millage” $79.56 million, 30-year bond issue to fund construction of a fourth high school, purchase the Olentangy Academy Building, and buy new buses. Treasurer Brian Kern said the district currently has a millage of 8.72 mills to make payments on its debt service. “There will be a millage on the ballot language, but when we go to collect on that debt service for that millage, it won’t be any more than it already is, and it will be able to meet our required debt service needs,” he said.

• A 5.9-mill operating levy to fund ongoing purchases.

• A 1-mill permanent improvement levy to fund building improvements, including asphalt, roofing and technology.
A “yes” vote would approve all three parts of the tax issue. If approved, the combined issue would cost taxpayers an additional $241.50 per $100,000 of home valuation.
The district’s projected enrollment has led the board to propose building a fourth high school. The fourth high school would be in Berlin Township on Berlin Station Road. Since 2011, enrollment has increased by more than 3,350 students.

In addition, the district’s fiscal 2014 cost per pupil is $9,699, which district officials said is $1,213 below the state average, and $1,420 below a similar district.

Olentangy Local Schools was last on the ballot in 2011, when voters approved a combined 7.9-mill operating levy and a $24.4 million no-new-millage bond issue. Board members have said they kept their promise that the issue would last for three years.

The board has spent recent meetings going over different levy millage rates and dates to go on the ballot before its vote Wednesday.

“The board has engaged in lengthy and productive conversation related to this decision for more than four months,” said board President Kevin O’Brien in a statement. “This is the best and most responsible way to address the district’s fiscal needs while also dealing with the overcrowding we are experiencing in our high schools.”

The vote was 4-1, with outgoing board member Adam White voting against the resolution.

The district will send the resolution of necessity to the county Auditor’s Office for certification. Next, the board will vote on a resolution to proceed at a future meeting. The resolution would need to be filed with the Delaware County Board of Elections by Dec. 16 to appear on the March ballot.

Operating costs, permanent improvements also included

By Gary Budzak

[email protected]

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

No posts to display