The buildings in the New Albany-Plain Local School District are aging, and district leaders say maintenance and technology improvements for them provide the basis for a potential permanent-improvements levy on the fall ballot.

"They're getting older," Superintendent Michael Sawyers said.

The newest student-occupied building -- New Albany Intermediate School, formerly known as the 2-8 Learning Facility -- turns 3 in August, he said, but New Albany High School is 26 years old.

School board members on June 26 could approve a resolution of necessity to enable the Franklin County auditor to certify a levy rate and the amount of money that would be collected, said Rebecca Jenkins, the district treasurer.

Aug. 9 is the deadline to file an issue for the Nov. 7 general election.

What is needed

Big-ticket improvements on the horizon include a new roof at the high school and annual technology improvements, Jenkins said.

The new roof is scheduled for 2019 and estimated to cost $2.2 million, she said. The district's five-year forecast estimates $1 million per year for technology needs.

According to data the district collected for five-year capital planning projects from 2018 through 2022, the projects will cost $12,708,625, or an annual average of $2,541,725.

Each year, the district is spending $1.3 million from the general-revenue to cover permanent improvements.

Regardless of whether the school board decides to pursue a permanent-improvements levy, money still would need to be spent on improvements, said board President John McClelland.

"These items are going to need to be fixed," he said.

If the board decides to continue funding improvements via the general-revenue fund instead of a permanent-improvements levy, the next operating-levy request probably would need to be at a higher millage, McClelland said.

"That's really where we're having the debate right now," he said.

Under consideration

A levy request would take advantage of 2.5 mills of debt service that will roll off the books Dec. 31, Sawyers said.

That means residents' annual property-tax payments for the school district would remain the same, making it the first time in recent memory that a funding request would not increase taxes, he said.

District leaders gave the school board two options for the permanent-improvements levy:

* A 2.5-mill, five-year levy that would generate $2.5 million annually is the first option. The district still would need $41,725 each year from the general-revenue fund to pay for permanent improvements with this option.

* A-1.5 mill, five-year levy that would generate $1.5 million annually is the second option. The district would need $1,041,725 each year from the general fund for permanent improvements with the 1.5-mill option.

Previous funding

New Albany-Plain Local voters last approved a permanent-improvements levy in 2004. District officials allowed it to expire in 2009, and its funds were exhausted in 2014.

The most recent operating levy approved was in 2012 with Issue 50, which included a 2.59-mill bond to build the New Albany Intermediate School and a 4.24-mill permanent operating levy to generate $3.51 million.

Jenkins said $480,388 remains from the bond.

In November 2014, voters rejected a 6.9-mill operating levy and a 2-mill permanent-improvements levy.

Both levies would have been permanent.

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