A 5.8-mill, 28-year bond issue will be needed to fund the local share of construction costs for a new building in the Eastwood district, superintendent Brent Welker said last week.
The Eastwood school board was scheduled to meet in a special session this past Friday morning to approve a resolution to place the issue on the ballot in November.
The board and administration had thought 5.69 mills would be sufficient to cover the $18.3 million needed for the district’s share of the project but were informed by the Wood County auditor’s office the district has realized a drop in property valuation, forcing school officials to seek more millage to meet the local share cost.
If voters approve the bond issue, Eastwood will qualify for about $13.6 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to construct a new building on the central campus to house kindergarten through the eighth grade classes.
“Originally we thought we were going to be 5.69 mills,” Mr. Welker said. “But the valuation on the district declined. Part of that was the personal tangible property tax loss.”
The state has adopted a new tax system and has been phasing out taxes on some property and replacing them with a new commercial activity tax.
Eastwood officials decided to segment their OSFC project and include improvements not covered by the state program. Of the $18.3 million Eastwood share, about $3 million in upgrades will come under what are called locally funded initiatives, including a new heating pump system for the high school building, a pitched roof with a 40-year guarantee for the new K-8 building, hard surface tile flooring for the new school, and a faster cable Internet connection to the central campus.
Mr. Welker said the new heating system at the high school would replace one nearly 50 years old and will be as efficient as a geothermal system but less costly.
The new Internet connection, after the initial equipment investment, will cost the district about $1,200 a month less to operate than the current system, he said, and will be paid off in six years.
The state typically installs a low-sloping roof with a 20-year guarantee on new buildings, Welker added. Eastwood officials wanted a roof with a longer life.
“For us the key thing was what project makes sense,” he said. “We took as much a long-term view on this as anything. We want to make sure when we’re done with this project our facilities are in good shape and ready go to for the next 25 to 30 years. That’s what our goal is.”
By having all schools on a central campus, the district will realize a savings in operating costs of about $350,000 annually, the board and administration estimate.
OSFC regulations require school districts to also place permanent improvement levies on the ballot with bond issues to cover future maintenance costs.
The Eastwood district is already collecting on a 2-mill improvement levy. If a 1-mill improvement levy that will also be on the November ballot is improved, the Eastwood board will request the county auditor stop collecting on the current levy.
The Genoa school board is scheduled to meet Aug. 5. The board is expected to approve a resolution to also proceed with a ballot issue for an OSFC project that will include constructing a new elementary school and upgrading the high school building.