On Thursday, October 26, the Olentangy Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to place a combined 4.25 mill levy on the March 19, 2024, ballot in accordance with the provisions of section 5705.218 of the Ohio Revised Code. The resolution combines a 3.00 mill operating levy and a 1.25 mill permanent improvement levy to address the operational and facility maintenance needs of the district. The resolution also authorizes the Board to seek the authority to issue up to $350,000,000 in bonds, which will allow the district to address enrollment growth. The district forecasts it will not require any additional millage to be collected to meet future debt service payments.
The estimated annual collections of the combined levy would be $26.9 million (a 3.00 mill operating levy will collect approximately $19 million, and the 1.25 mill permanent improvement levy will collect approximately $7.9 million). In reviewing the 2024 home values, Treasurer Ryan Jenkins estimates it will cost homeowners $148.75 annually for each $100,000 of their home’s appraised value.
Jenkins stated, “The key reason for the bond issue is that it encompasses the authority for the district to issue bonds for the construction of five additional Olentangy school buildings; three elementary schools (elementaries 18, 19, and 20), a seventh middle school, and a fifth high school. One of our district pillars is to be an exceptional value for a top-notch public education, and we are committed to being diligent stewards of our taxpayer dollars.”
Jenkins continued, “There is also a direct need to protect and preserve our taxpayers’ investment in the assets owned by the community. This ballot issue has two additional parts. The first part of the ballot issue is for permanent improvement revenues to ensure safe and adequate facilities for students to learn and staff to work. This includes the maintenance, repairs, and upkeep of capital facilities, school buildings, parking lots, equipment, and other significant infrastructure. The second part is an operating levy, which will fund the day-to-day operations of the district and will address the increase in expenses due to enrollment growth across the district.”
“It’s no surprise that the Delaware County area is growing — and will continue to grow. Our district has experienced exponential growth since the early 2000s and enrollment projections by our facilities committee forecast a 21% increase in student enrollment over the next ten years,” shared Superintendent Todd R. Meyer. “In spring 2020, we made a promise to our community that Olentangy would stay off the ballot for three years, and I am proud that we stretched that commitment to four years.
“Olentangy is a destination district for families, and we continue to see new housing growth throughout our 95 square miles. This ballot issue is essential to continue to provide the necessary facilities for our students to learn and the individualized resources our students deserve. Our One Olentangy community has come together in support of our schools in the past, which has resulted in Olentangy being a recognized leader in K-12 education,” continued Mr. Meyer.
Board of Education President Kevin O’Brien added, “The decision to place Olentangy Schools on the March ballot is not something the board takes lightly. This vote is a result of the transparent analysis and planning of our treasurer’s office, our operations team maintaining our current facilities and stretching the capacity of each school building, as well as mindfulness regarding our district budget. Olentangy continues to deliver strong academic performance, evidenced by our five-star overall rating by the Ohio Department of Education, and we deliver that performance in a fiscally responsible way in continuing to spend less per pupil than the state average and comparable districts. I hope our taxpayers understand the need for the levy and we can continue to make them proud of their investment in our schools.”
“One common thread I hear when speaking with Olentangy parents and residents is that we all moved to this area for the schools,” stated Board Vice President Brandon Lester. “Strong schools are vital to strong communities. We want the next generation to receive an exceptional education rich in opportunities and develop life-long learners that contribute to our community and society.”
Should voters support and approve the levy in March 2024, the first collection will be in the calendar year 2025. Olentangy Schools was last on the ballot in 2020. For more information, visit the levy information webpage.