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Columbus school board votes to put levy on November ballot

Columbus City Schools District Office.
Nick Evans

The levy would raise school district property taxes by nearly $270 for a home worth $100,000, if approved by Columbus voters.

Original story updated June 21 at 7:30 a.m.

The Columbus Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to revive a levy request for the November ballot.

If approved, the 7.7 mil levy will increase property taxes by nearly $270 for a home worth $100,000.

The board proposed a similar levy in 2022 along with a $680 million bond issue to go before voters, but removed it in August of last year amid rising inflation and a teacher's strike. The school district's operating and improvement levies are meant to fund the upkeep and maintenance of existing school buildings and programs. The proposed bond issue asks voters for funding for new school buildings with new taxes in addition to the levy.

Columbus City Schools spokesperson Jacqueline Bryant said in an email that the board is not doing anything with a bond issue at this time and no future votes on one are planned.

Bryant said Tuesday's vote declares a necessity to levy a tax, a crucial first step before putting the issue to a vote. She said the next steps for the operating levy and permanent improvement levy are to meet on Aug. 1 at the next meeting and vote to proceed to place the issue on the November ballot.

Columbus Education Association President John Coneglio told WOSU he supports the levy, and that it will support many of the teachers' union's goals to create safer and up-to-date learning environments for students and teachers.

"Building conditions, HVAC, you know, building conditions all play into that. Our kids should be in 21st century classrooms," Coneglio said.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.