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Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Tax issue planned to build school

By William Kincaid
NEW BREMEN - Board of education members intend to put a $13.3 million bond issue in front of voters next year to pay for construction of a K-8 building.
Last week board members announced four options for the elementary building - two renovated the current building and two constructed a new building at a cost of $19 million and $20 million. The board has decided to go with the $20.2 million construction plan. If the bond issue is approved, $6.845 million would be funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC).
At a special meeting Wednesday, board members took the first step by unanimously passing a resolution to ask the state to allow the district to issue debt beyond the maximum level of 9 percent of its assessed value of $102 million, according to treasurer Deb Meyer.
"It's not an unusual thing," Meyer told board members, pointing out it's the first step needed to get a construction issue on the ballot.
Meyer estimates a 38-year, 7.5-mill levy would be necessary. Cost to the owner of a $100,000 home would be an additional $229.69 per year.
Board members next month will be asked to approve a resolution of intent to place the bond issue on the ballot of a special election scheduled for Feb. 7. They also will learn the exact millage of the project.
The plan includes constructing a new, 80,540-square-foot building. Depending on submitted bids, the project may include standing seam metal roof, terrazzo floor and advanced technology.
Architect John Freytag has said enough land is at the high school site to accommodate a new elementary/junior high. Board members have not identified the exact location, but it likely would be a multi-story structure. A vestibule connector to link the K-8 building to the high school is planned.
OSFC requires a 0.5-mill maintenance levy to accompany the project, according to Meyer. Next month, board members also may consider upsizing the required 0.5-mill levy to 1 mill and stop collecting on the district's long-standing 1-mill permanent improvement levy. This ultimately would save taxpayers money, Meyer said.
Superintendent Ann Harvey said community members at a recent public meeting overwhelmingly responded in favor of building a new school.
At that meeting, 64 of the 150 attendees responded to surveys with 85.5 percent of them supporting construction and 14 percent supporting renovation of the building.
Board members have not decided what would happen to the former building. The OSFC would fund 50 percent of the cost of demolition. Any work related to "buttoning up" whatever is saved would have to be paid with local tax dollars.
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