The Northridge Board of Education approved legislation Monday to place two issues on the May 4 ballot.

The Northridge Board of Education approved legislation Monday to place two issues on the May 4 ballot.

After a four-hour meeting with various reports, the board unanimously approved a resolution of necessity to place a 1-percent income tax renewal for a continuing period of time on the May ballot. The board also unanimously approved a resolution of necessity for a bond issue combined with a permanent improvement levy.

A special meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, when the board will take the next step to place the issues on the ballot and millage amounts will be determined.

Master plan steering committee member Brian Koker said the group that has met the past five months recommends the conservative option of building a K-5 elementary on the current high school/middle school campus. Recommended Locally Funded Initiative (LFI) options include increasing the size of the gym, increasing parking at the high school and middle school campus and providing computers and smart boards.

The finance committee recommended the same construction option, as well as placement of a 1-percent income tax renewal on the May ballot. Recommended LFIs were the same as the steering committee, with the addition of two preschool classrooms that would become spaces for kindergarten.

District staff member Dave Liggett also provided a facility assessment to the board.

"Our number one priority would be the roof at the high school and middle school," he said. "Number two is the electrical system in the middle school."

Liggett said the middle school fire alarm system needs a major upgrade.

"The plumbing fixtures in the middle school are in bad shape," he added. "The sinks and faucets are from the 1963 building."

Liggett said there's $10,000 in upgrades that should be done at the sewer plant.

The board also asked for a recommendation from superintendent John Shepard and treasurer Felicia Drummey.

They proposed the 1-percent income tax renewal, to be continuous, and a separate ballot issue that pairs a bond with permanent improvements.

"With the combined approach, there are two separate ballot issues," Drummey said. "The people have said they want to see a new elementary school. By putting it on the ballot, you're allowing residents to exercise their rights."

Drummey said the district is still in fiscal caution, but that would accelerate to fiscal watch or emergency if the income tax isn't approved in May. She estimates $1- to $1.5-million in cuts would need to be enacted in July.

"Because we're living on bare bones, we'd feel the pain immediately," Drummey said.

Northridge is poised to receive assistance through the Ohio School Facilities Commission for the building project. The state would fund 31 percent of the estimated $12.8-million project, with Northridge covering the balance.

"The OSFC has a nest egg and a piece of that nest egg has your name on it for now," said Becky Pricehorn, the district's bond counsel with Bricker and Eckler.

Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.'s Jason List said low-cost financing is available now through the Federal Stimulus Act with Building America Bonds and School Construction Bonds.

If a bond issue passed, he said the tax collection could be deferred for almost three years.

"The idea is, why pay for a building you're not using," he said. "You don't necessarily have to. If you defer tax collection, it's a way to mitigate the bad economy."

For the building of a new K-5 elementary school and permanent improvement issue, he estimated the annual cost for residents age 64 and under would be about $202.44 for each $100,000 of home evaluation, and $151.80 per year for those age 65 and older.

"I think your best options are to move forward and try to take advantage of this low cost financing," List said. "By letting them vote on it, you let the public speak their mind.