While he was at the Wood County Fair, the more common questions the Eastwood school superintendent heard centered on how the district will fare financially down the road if a new school building is constructed and what will happen to bus routes.
The Eastwood district qualifies for about $13.5 million in funding through the Ohio School Facilities Commission to help pay for part of the construction costs of a new elementary building if Eastwood voters approve a 5.8-mill, 28-year bond issue on the November ballot.
In addition, the school board and administration plan about $3 million in other improvements, including a new heating pump system at the high school, a pitched roof with a 40-year guarantee and hard surface tile flooring for the proposed K-8 elementary building, and a faster cable Internet to the central campus – all of which aren’t covered by OSFC funding.
In all, the bond issue, if approved, will generate about $18.3 million for the building and other improvements.
Having a new elementary school at the central campus will help the district save about $1.75 million in operational costs over five years, Mr. Welker explained in his recent newsletter to the community.
“As a matter of fact we will need new operating money faster if we do not get into a new centralized building,” he writes. “Eastwood will save a minimum of $350,000 per year in operating funds when we move to a central campus. That is the equivalent of 1.8 mills at our current valuation.”
An emergency levy approved in 2005 will be up for renewal in 2010 and an income tax approved in 2006 will expire by 2011.
“If we can get into a new building in 2011-12, we will have the chance to extend our five-year forecast well into the future,” Mr. Welker projects.
OSFC regulations require school districts to also place permanent improvement levies on the ballot with bond issues to cover future building 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 with the bond issue is approved, the school board plans to request the Wood County auditor stop collecting on the current improvement levy.
If the bond issue is approved in November, school officials are confident the mechanical system at the high school can be replaced next summer
He said there are no plans to go to a single bus run if a new elementary is constructed. With a single run the district would have to purchase more buses and hire more drivers – an extra expense – and he’s heard “numerous concerns” from parents with young elementary students about the mixing of seniors and kindergarten students.