Board members said the district needs the funds even though it would raise taxes for residents.
If the 7.7 mill levy passes in November, it would add $269.50 for every $100,000 of a property’s taxable value.
The Board of Education said in a press conference that despite the property tax hike, the levy is necessary for the district.
“We also know that this is a tremendous ask to our community,” school board president Jennifer Adair said. “It will raise taxes, but this is the time. This is the time to do it because this is our future at stake.”
Board members said that by next September, the district will need to use all elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds, also known as ESSER funds, which districts received during the pandemic.
That money is currently used for a variety of things including staff salaries, benefits, and infrastructure improvements to schools.
Adair said the money from the levy would go toward general operations like school supplies, staff salaries, maintenance, and building modernizations since some schools are close to 100 years old.
Adair said the operating levy is necessary to keep up with the needs of students, staff, parents, and the community as a whole, especially as the ESSER funds come to an end.
“We have many of our one-time funding sources that are ending, and we want to make those reinvestments to support our children and our families going forward,” Adair said. “So that is why this ask is incredibly important.”
But some people are speaking out against the levy, including Columbus mayoral candidate Joe Motil.
In a statement, Motil said, “More and more residents are unhoused. The Auditor’s property reappraisals and property taxes are coming due and their numbers are soaring.”
He also added that he would not support a levy that costs property owners this much money in taxes.
If it passes, the levy will give the district close to $100 million a year.