Since voters on Nov. 8 approved the Canal Winchester Local Schools' three-year, 13.38-mill, $5.8-million emergency levy, district officials say they are ready to move forward with plans to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
Since voters on Nov. 8 approved the Canal Winchester Local Schools’ three-year, 13.38-mill, $5.8-million emergency levy, district officials say they are ready to move forward with plans to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
“We hope the taxpayers realize that we are looking for ways to be efficient with their dollars,” Superintendent Kimberley Miller-Smith said at the Nov. 21 board of education meeting.
The levy will cost homeowners an additional $410 annually per $100,000 of home valuation, according to the district’s estimates. That amount is $42 less than homeowners currently pay per month for the two-year, $6.4-million, 14.78-mill emergency levy that was approved in May 2009 and which expires in December.
Even with voter approval on Nov. 8 of the emergency levy, the district will have to cut expenses to continue to balance the budget, treasurer Joyce Boyer said.
“As promised to the taxpayers, we will be working diligently over the next few years to reduce an additional $3.3-million from our expenditures,” she said. “We don’t have particular line items or positions that we will be looking at (currently), but we will be looking at every single thing on a continuing basis.”
One of the ways the district plans to reduce costs is by implementing an energy-efficiency program to lower utility bills. It will follow guidelines set forth in the Ohio School Facilities Commission’s Energy Conservation Program and will include measures such as installing new lighting and technology to make heating and cooling systems function more efficiently, installing new burners on the two middle-school boilers to conserve gas, more closely monitoring when heating and cooling systems can be turned off when buildings empty out at the end of each day and managing humidity in each of the district’s buildings.
To fund facility upgrades for the energy-efficiency program, the district anticipates receiving an interest rate lower than 4.75 percent on two series of bonds, one to be paid back in seven years and another to be paid back over 27 years, Boyer said.
To prepare for issuing the bonds, the district worked with the Columbus office of the financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co. on a bond package to attract investors. In evaluating the bond package, the Moody’s credit rating agency upgraded the Canal Winchester school district’s credit rating from A1 to A1-plus, citing effective fiscal management and efficiency in operating.
“Without even knowing the outcome of the levy, they raised that bond rating,” board member David Brobst said.
In other business Monday night, Miller-Smith welcomed incoming board members Robert Toledo and Matt Krueger, who, in January, will fill the seats currently held by Brobst and John Kantner, who did not seek re-election. Miller-Smith also presented an appreciation award to levy campaign chair Joan Hatley. The levy’s success was due to the combined effort of hundreds of volunteers, Hatley said.
“We had 200 teachers and administrators sign up and 100 parents” to help raise awareness, she said. “It was all of the talent in the community that came together.”