A resolution to apply for Qualified School Construction Bonds has been approved by the Eastwood school board.
State law allows districts to sell bonds for projects that improve the energy efficiency of buildings, said Brent Welker, Eastwood superintendent, with the bonds repaid over years from energy savings.
“These are zero percent interest bonds that benefit the buyer by giving them a dollar for dollar tax credit,” he said. “These bonds were made possible through the federal government as part of the stimulus plan.”
The Eastwood administration has been working with a Cleveland-area firm to identify energy-saving technologies that can be paid for by the resulting lower costs.
“At some point in the next couple of weeks the board will hear about their plans and take action if appropriate to submit the plan to the Ohio School Facilities Commission which oversees the program,” Welker said.
The Qualified School Construction Bonds the district intends to use for an energy-saving project are also available for the construction of new facilities – which leaves the door open for the district to again consider constructing a new elementary building through the OSFC program.
Earlier this year, the Eastwood board opted to remove a 3.2-mill bond issue from the May ballot, citing poor economic conditions.
The bond issue would have funded the local share of construction costs for a new building that would have housed kindergarten through the fifth grade. The balance would be paid by the OSFC.
Had voters approved the issue, the school would have been constructed at the central campus.
Welker said that blending the zero percent interest bonds and traditional bonds would lower the total cost of a building project.
“We do not believe that there is enough money available to use zero percent interest bonds for the entire project and would be forced to blend them,” he said. “The second development is that there is a provision in the budget bill that would extend our (OSFC) funding offer to November at our same state share. Under the current law, we would become a lapsed district in August and our state share would begin to decrease.”
Another option, he said, is to extend the number of years for the bonds to mature.
Typically, bonds for OSFC are issued for 28 years.
Lengthening the number of years would reduce the millage, Welker said.