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Columbus School Board decides on millage for fall levy

Columbus School Board members today approved the millage for this November's ballot. Despite a range from 6 to 7.75 mils board members voted on a number in the middle.

After much discussion, school board members agreed to put a 6.95 mils levy on the upcoming November ballot. The millage would add more than 180 dollars in taxes per year on an 86 thousand dollar house, which district officials say is the average worth of a home in the district.

The November ballot is already crowded on several fronts...the presidential election, the Columbus Zoo and several other school levies. A prospect several board members acknowledged as they think about how to sell the levy to the public.

Board President Stephanie Hightower says the district's campaign will remind voters of the improvements the district has made since the last operations levy passed in 1996. Hightower says controlled spending, better accountability and getting out of academic emergency are just a few of the district's accomplishments.

Columbus school's superintendent Gene Harris says while 6.95 won't alleviate all of the district financial problems, she and her staff will have to make tough decisions.

The levy, if passed by voters, would last 4 years and generate more than 60 million dollars per year for the district. According to the district, new staff could be hired by the money gained from a levy passage. The district this year laid off hundreds of employees to offset a budget deficit.