The levy will increase property taxes by $269.50 for each $100,000 of property value.
It’s money that will go to operating expenses, the permanent improvement fund and will bring nearly $100 million annually into the district.
On Wednesday, the Columbus City School Board said the money is all about maintenance.
“Let me just say it is not extra money,” board president Jennifer Adair said. “This money is to ensure that we have operating budgets as we explained when we made this ask to the public.”
The Columbus School levy is measured in mills, or one-tenth of one cent. This one is a 7-point 7-mill levy. Three mills, or a little more than $38.5 million, will go to operating expenses.
“The only real thing that’s new will be the six new pre-k classrooms,” Adair said. “The rest of it goes to maintain existing; it’s reinvestment in existing positions, programs, as well as that dedicated capital budget to maintain the things we already have.”
The other 4.7 mills, or just under $60.5 million, will go toward the permanent improvement fund.
“We know that investing in our students, our earliest learners, is a return on our investment,” district superintendent Dr. Angela Chapman said. “It improves student attendance. It improves student progress in all grades.”
When asked how this money will help improve the district’s two-star rating on the state report card, they said that it will help stabilize the foundation.
“This is a reinvestment into our students, directly into classrooms, into performance, which will, in turn, help us achieve more on the state report card,” Adair said. “Our students are achieving, though Just make no mistake of that.”
When the board was advocating for the levy, they said without it, more than 600 positions and some programs were at risk of being cut. When asked if those positions were safe, Chapman said that not all of them would be.
“We will review all the positions that we are maintaining,” she said, “I will also review some of the positions and programs that were on our ESSER strategy that we were supporting with ESSER investments. Some of those positions will be reduced. Some of those programs will look differently as we are reshaping and rethinking about how we want to prioritize the work moving forward.”
The levy passed with a little more than 54%. The report on how the money is planned to be spent can be found here.