GRANVILLE, Ohio — Granville is a quaint, New England-style community that's home to nearly 6,000 residents and is known for its schools’ academic success.
“Granville is a great place to live, work, get a great education for your children. We have a lot of amenities and we're close to Columbus, which is a great Metro Center,” said Jeff Brown, superintendent for Granville Exempted Village Schools. “Most people move here for the schools and the quality of the schools.”
With Intel, a multinational technology company setting roots about 13 miles away from Granville, Browns said he knows the community is likely to grow. About 7,000 construction jobs are expected to be created over the next few years while the chip fabrication facilities are being built and about 3,000 direct Intel jobs. Alongside the influx of people will come an influx of children, all needing a place to go to school.
Brown said Granville Elementary is already at 95% capacity and the middle and high school are at 80% capacity.
“I think there's no question in my mind that we're going to grow. It's how do we plan for that growth so that we can continue to do what we do best for kids,” Brown said. “We're starting to look at what future enrollment looks like. And we look at it two different ways, one from a historical perspective, and then looking forward in kind of more of a land use analysis and how land that might be agriculture right now might change to development, commercial or residential in the future.”
Brown said the community is planning for things like transportation, roadway improvements, extension of water and sewer lines and new school buildings.
“I believe that in the future, we will be building some new buildings,” Brown said. “I anticipate that will be a new elementary and then in the future, in the next five to 10 years, maybe a new middle school.”
GROWTH TAKES MONEY
He said a big challenge to growth, though, is how to pay for it. On the November ballot is a renewal of the income tax levy, which the district put in place four years ago to diversify their revenue stream. Brown said it is critical in a high growth environment to sustain revenue sources, including property tax, state funding and income tax.
“As a wealthy school district, we are heavily reliant on our property taxes,” Brown said. “And so by adding the income tax in, we have a revenue stream that can grow, which positions us well for a growth environment. And so needing to sustain that income tax is important for the school district to prepare for future growth.”
Granville Exempted Village Schools has about 176 staff members in the classroom and about 225 total employees across all the buildings and administration. He said if the levy renewal doesn't pass, staff cuts could follow.
“80% of our budget is in staff, and the income tax makes up 20% of our total revenue. So, you know, obviously, if you were to remove 20% of that revenue, that would impact staffing levels significantly,” Brown said.
Multiple school districts will be affected by Intel and all the additional workers and their families. It’s a multi-jurisdictional challenge that Brown said is an opportunity to potentially diversify and improve Granville’s community. But Brown said his main goal is to maintain the culture of Granville Schools and keep them performing at a high level of excellence. It’s something he thinks can be done through lots of conversation and strategic planning, not just within the community, but within the region.
“Collaboratively, I think is our best, best path forward,” Brown said.