With a potential bonanza coming for the Eastwood school district, superintendent Brent Welker is emphasizing to voters that a permanent improvement renewal levy on Tuesday’s ballot is still needed.
The 2-mill, 5-year levy generates about $265,095 annually and has been in effect for 20 years, allowing the district to meet the costs of repair and maintenance projects that aren’t covered by operating revenues.
This past June, Eastwood officials signed an agreement with Home Depot, Inc. for the company to pay the school district $675,000 a year for 15 years as part of a real estate tax abatement package. The payments and abatement are linked to an enterprise zone established in Troy Township where the company has expressed interest in building a distribution center.
Welker, in his weekly newsletter, said the school board has determined the best use of the revenue from Home Depot is to address problems with the aging elementary school buildings.
He said the board and administration will host a town hall forum Nov. 13 to update the community on board proposals for the buildings.
A survey of the district’s residents is being scheduled to gauge the public’s opinion on options the board is considering, Welker said.
To demonstrate the need for the renewal levy, he points to maintenance issues that were brought to his attention in the course of one day:
-Several schools were having boiler “issues”
-A dishwasher wasn’t working
-Two freezers weren’t working properly, including a walk-in freezer at the middle school.
The estimated cost for the repairs is about $10,000 and is primarily covered by the permanent improvement fund.
“When you have five facilities, 22 buses and multiple support vehicles like vans, trucks, movers and utility vehicles, you have to have a dedicated stream that is aside from your operating levies to fund those projects,” Welker writes.
The school board recently approved a resolution asking the Ohio School Facilities Commission to, in essence, hold the district’s place in line should it decide to pursue an option that would be eligible for state funding.
Welker said after the board passed the resolution only to keep all of the district’s options open.
The Nov. 13 forum had been scheduled for September but school officials decided to delay it after hearing from a local facilities task force and business advisory council to get a clearer idea of what would be financially viable for the district.