The Canal Winchester Times

OSFC decision

Maintenance fund can be used on CWHS repairs

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The Canal Winchester school district got some good news from the state about how it can use the approximately $1 million remaining in its classroom facilities maintenance fund.

When an addition was constructed at Canal Winchester High School, the district was required to set up the fund for repairs.

That fund has been collecting money from a 0.5-mill levy since 1991.

Becky Princehorn from the Bricker & Eckler law firm told the board at its June 16 meeting that the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) had said the district is no longer restricted to using the maintenance fund only on the 1993 addition. Instead, the money can be used on any permanent improvement repairs needed in the building.

"We're pleased that they saw the bigger picture and are going to let you to spend it on anything that would be needed at the high school," Princehorn said.

Superintendent Jim Sotlar agreed, but said it would be nice if the district could use the money on any building repairs since a lot of buildings are in need of maintenance.

Princehorn also reminded the board that the levy funding the repairs to the high school will expire at the end of this year.

"I talked with the Department of Taxation and you were the first district in Ohio to be faced with this situation," Princehorn said. "If you extend it, they'll (Ohio Department of Taxation) deem it a renewal and so your taxpayers will continue to receive the rollback."

Currently, the state pays 12.5 percent of the tax bill for the levy. However, Princehorn said the board must decide whether to ask voters to renew the levy before Aug. 6 filing deadline to get it on the November ballot.

According to Sotlar, the current maintenance levy -- with the state rollback -- costs homeowners $12.74 annually per $100,000 valuation of their home.

If the levy expires, the rollback is gone, and the half mill levy is approved at a later time, homeowners would pay $17.50 annually per $100,000 valuation.

Since the levy must be tied to a state-approved building project, the district would also have to revisit its master building plan and enter into an agreement with the OSFC before the end of 2015 to complete at least one part of the plan, Sotlar said.

"When we went through the plan, we actually have a couple ideas of where we want to spend it. It's just whether we want to do it right now," he said. "That's a decision we're going to have to have with the board."

In other business, the board approved a $40,000 contract with The Garland Co. Inc. for roofing repairs on the auxiliary gymnasium at 122 Washington St. and hired Diane Spears, a retired treasurer for several school districts, to be assistant treasurer during the extended absence of Treasurer Joyce Boyer, who is having surgery. Her last day at work will be July 29.

Spears will be paid $360 per day until Boyer returns.

The next board meeting date has been changed from July 21 to July 28.

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