Columbus School Board Sends Levy To Ballot, Starts Looking At Properties To Sell
The Columbus school board has voted unanimously to ask voters to approve a levy request that would increase school property taxes on the average Columbus home by more than $300 a year.
The board on Thursday also received a list of old schools that the superintendent wants deemed "surplus" and put up for sale.
The combination levy/bond request approved by the board on Thursday is for 6.92 mils, which would increase annual property taxes on a $100,000 home by about $242.
In an emailed release, Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dan Good said the levy would “build upon the success of our students in the classroom, better address the social and emotional needs they often bring from home, and begin tackling a multi-million-dollar backlog of overdue building maintenance, repairs, and replacements.”
The district says the levy includes $125 million in bonds for building repairs, classroom technology, playgrounds and school buses.
It also included $4.4 million in annual funding for repairs “aimed at preventing future backlogs of major capital expenditures.”
The school board also got its first look at another proposal to sell off several district properties. Those properties, which are considered "surplus" by Superintendent Good, include Clarfield Elementary School, Indianola Middle School, the old Africentric building, and the Southeast Career Center.
About half of the properties being considered for sale sit empty, while the other half are leased by other organizations.
School district spokesman Scott Varner says the buildings were evaluated and determined not be useful to the district in the future. If all were sold, Varner says they could bring in up to $33 million to help alleviate a $200 million backlog of deferred maintenance projects.
"Now may be the time to look at selling those properties and devoting those dollars to the deferred maintenance projects and the goals that we've laid out," says Varner.
The Neighborhood Schools Development Partnership committee, a volunteer committee former by the school board, will make their recommendations next week.