Olentangy Schools voters say no to levy


The Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) will have to go back to the drawing board to address overcrowding in its ever-growing district after voters overwhelmingly shot down a bond issue and tax levy on Tuesday.

Proposed was a 4.25-mill levy featuring three elements, including a bond package at no additional millage, that would have authorized the district to seek up to $350 million in bond proceeds to construct new facilities, as well as a 3-mill operating levy and a 1.25-mill permanent improvement levy. OLSD anticipated constructing five new buildings had the measure been successful.

More than 24,400 votes were cast on the ballot measure, with nearly 63.5% not in favor of the bond issue or levy. Based on 2024 home values, the measure would have cost district residents an estimated $148.75 annually for each $100,000 of the appraised value.

“We appreciate our One Olentangy’s continued partnership in Olentangy Schools’ mission to facilitate maximum learning for every student,” the district said in a release following the results. “The combined 4.25-mil levy was the district’s lowest operational ask of this community in 30 years, and we are all naturally disappointed the ballot issue did not receive enough voter support.

“There are many questions on how this decision impacts current attendance boundaries, the construction and opening of new schools, and the timing of a future levy and bond ask to our Delaware County community. We do not have all those answers yet. We will take a closer look at resource alignment and our priorities as we work to meet the needs of an ever-growing student population.”

During the levy campaign, the district stated that should the levy fail, a future operational ask will need to assess more mills to account for lost collections and additional growth.

“Current projections show that if Olentangy Schools must wait until 2025 to pass a levy, with collections first beginning in 2026, the operating portion of the levy will need to be 4.5 mills versus the current ask of 3 mills,” the district’s website states. “Combined with the 1.25 mills permanent improvement, the total levy would be 5.75 mills versus the current 4.25 mills. These extra 1.5 mills would cost the owner of a $400,000 home an additional $210 annually. If the levy doesn’t pass until 2026, and Olentangy doesn’t start collections until 2027, the operating ask would be 6.75 mills.”

While OLSD figures out its next steps, enrollment totals in the district are projected to surpass 24,000 students by the start of the 2024-25 school year. Current projections suggest the district will exceed 25,000 total students in 2026-27 and 26,000 in 2028-29.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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