Written by Larry Limpf
July 10, 2009
The Eastwood school board was scheduled to meet this past Friday to approve a resolution seeking authorization to issue debt if the board decides to place a bond issue on the November ballot.
Brent Welker, school superintendent, said the board and administration should know later this week what the millage would be for Qualified School Construction Bonds the district can receive from the state.
The bonds are interest free, he said, and the millage will likely be in the range of 2.8 and 2.9 mills.
State law allows districts to issue bonds for projects that improve the energy efficiency of buildings and to repay the bonds over the course of years from energy savings. The Qualified School Construction Bonds the district is considering for energy-savings projects are also available for the construction of new facilities – which means the district may again attempt to construct a new elementary building through the Ohio School Facilities Commission program.
Welker said the zero percent interest bonds benefit the buyers by giving them a dollar for dollar tax credit.
Eastwood officials have been working with a Cleveland-area firm to identify energy-saving technologies that can be paid for the resulting lower costs.
The administration and board are weighing various options for a possible ballot issue.
“If we reduce the permanent improvement levy from the current 1.1 mills and renew it as part of the bond issue at .75-mill, the total net increase will be 2.55 mills or $78 per year for every $100,000 of value on a home,” Welker said. “We are also looking at some options that might allow us to pass the bond but defer the collection for a period of up to two years. Such an option would allow for a potential economic recovery before the increase in taxes is felt.”
Board members earlier this year chose to remove a 3.2-mill bond issue from the May ballot, saying a sagging economy would hurt chances of it passing. The bond would have funded the local share of costs for a new K-5 building on the central campus. OSFC funds would have paid the balance.
Welker last week said the board is looking for ways to finance the purchase of new boilers at the high school and install more efficient lighting systems throughout the district. If the old boiler at the high school is removed, he said, there are some asbestos problems that would need to be addressed.
Automated temperature control systems at the middle school and high school are also being considered.