By 1808Delaware

In late October the Olentangy Schools Board of Education took a decisive step towards addressing the district’s burgeoning needs in the face of rapid growth. The Board unanimously approved a resolution to place a significant funding measure on the March 19, 2024, ballot. This resolution, in line with section 5705.218 of the Ohio Revised Code, proposes a combined 4.25 mill levy comprising a 3.00 mill operating levy and a 1.25 mill permanent improvement levy.

According to the Board, the rationale behind this dual-faceted levy is clear: it aims to meet the operational demands and facility maintenance needs of a district experiencing notable expansion. Additionally, the resolution includes a plan to issue bonds up to $350 million, further underlining the district’s commitment to managing enrollment growth effectively.

The Financial Implications for Homeowners

The proposed levy, with an estimated annual collection of $26.9 million, carries substantial implications for local homeowners. Treasurer Ryan Jenkins provides a breakdown: the operating levy would generate around $19 million, while the improvement levy would add approximately $7.9 million. For homeowners, this translates to an annual cost of $148.75 for every $100,000 of home value. Jenkins emphasizes the focus on being “diligent stewards of taxpayer dollars,” a commitment reflecting the district’s responsibility towards its community.

Addressing Growth and Ensuring Quality

Superintendent Todd R. Meyer highlights the district’s growth trajectory, noting a projected 21% increase in student enrollment over the next decade. This expansion necessitates not only new facilities – including three elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school – but also an investment in maintaining current infrastructure. The levy addresses these needs while honoring a promise to the community for minimal ballot presence.

Board of Education President Kevin O’Brien and Vice President Brandon Lester echo the sentiment of responsibility and community investment. O’Brien points to the district’s five-star overall rating by the Ohio Department of Education as evidence of fiscal efficiency and educational excellence. Lester adds, “Strong schools are vital to strong communities,” emphasizing the broader impact of educational investment.

Looking Ahead: The 2024 Ballot and Beyond

Should the levy pass in March 2024, collections will commence in 2025, marking a new phase in Olentangy Schools’ evolution. This ballot initiative represents a critical juncture for the district, balancing the need for expansion with fiscal responsibility. As the district last appeared on the ballot in 2020, this new measure underscores a continuous effort to adapt to and accommodate growth while maintaining educational standards.

For further details, community members are encouraged to visit the Olentangy Schools’ levy information webpage.

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